Better Groceries for Less Cash
101 Tested & Proven Ways to Save on Food

By Randall Putala © 2008

Copyright © 2008 by Randall Putala All rights reserved For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions c/o SDMI, 5010 Linbar Drive, Suite 130, Nashville, TN 37211. www.grocerysavings.us Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Putala, Randall Better Groceries for Less Cash / Randall Putala ISBN 978-0-9777106-0-7. Printed in the United States of America Book design by John Hreha

Cards & Counterintelligence Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. Healthier Meals Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Closing Notes Glossary Savings Examples 4 7 9 13 19 23 33 49 59 61 71 77 81 83 89 93 97 103 123 129 135 139 143 144 146 . Real Cooking Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Chapter 14: Real Food.Contents Foreword Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Chapter 2: The “7 Deadly Sins” Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons Chapter 6: Strategy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way To Organize Coupons Chapter 8: The Currency vs. Coupon Litmus Test Chapter 9: Clubs.

I don't care that the dealership down the street offers a lower price. call every dealership in a 50 mile radius – heck. it’s not really as absurd as you might think. They'll print out comparison reports from the internet. I won't accept them. "my last customer took out a 5 year extended warranty. The salesman looks stunned. All this. Most people pride themselves on getting the absolute best deal on a new car. he replies. for a purchase made once every five or six years that immediately loses about 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot. He says to the salesman. Are groceries the new “high ticket items” of our current economy? Just look at your 4 . "I want to buy your finest vehicle and I'll pay the full sticker price." The salesman recovers his wits and is delighted by his good fortune. No freebies or add-ons. I'm buying from you". Yet these very same consumers who spend countless hours scheming and negotiating to get the best deal on their new car. of course you're correct. but the man goes on: "And don't even try to give me a better deal. whether it is competitive or not. That’s because most people view food shopping as an entirely different process than shopping for other items – especially high-ticket items. I'm assuming that you'll want the 10 year warranty. But as you’ll see in the pages of this book. correct?" If you're thinking this scenario is a little farfetched. concocting elaborate schemes to 'work the sales person down'. probably never stop to scrutinize the details of their grocery receipts.Foreword A man walks into a car dealership. Without blinking an eyelash now. they'll even threaten to walk out of the dealership if they don't get the concessions they want. And based on the way most people view food shopping. it’s not that far removed from the everyday reality that most people experience in their grocery store. But I do want your sworn assurance that nobody – absolutely nobody – will pay more than me for the identical vehicle.

000 or more per year. And at the end of the day. yet most people are PROUD to pay full price for everything from produce to pizza pies to polka-dot party plates. and happy savings! 5 . They can ridicule the coupon-clippers and laugh that they tip more than that to the valet parkers at their country club. will shudder at the thought of clipping grocery coupons. Read.000 in savings they could enjoy over the course of their life. I really will show you how to enjoy savings of 30% . They represent 15% to 20% of most household budgets. I'm being facetious. and just maybe you would enjoy saving $100 or $200 per month. enjoy. take a deep breath and relax: this book is for you. or "Why Pay Less When We Can Charge You More?" Of course. You see.receipts. put this book down immediately and go count your Krugerrands! I’m guessing. like clockwork. and I really can show you how to do it. Just maybe you don't carry a money clip with a wad of $100 bills. If so. you probably don't need to clip coupons. "I'm not poor!" they insist. that you’re NOT that guy. week in and week out. Sure.40% – even 50% off your grocery bill. it's pretty much a one-time investment. Does this make any sense to anybody??? Imagine the headlines if we had 'truth in advertising' and the grocery stores were forced to follow it: "Nobody Soaks You Better". a new car can last you many years with a bit of regular maintenance. It’s no big deal for someone like that to dismiss the $40. But the same people who will drive 5 miles out of their way to save a nickel on gasoline. as if they couldn't use an extra $1.000 or $50. perhaps. if your money grows on trees or you discover the secret of alchemy. But groceries are bought every single week of every single year. Is this you? Do you light your cigars with $100 bills? Do you consider yourself the equal of the guy in the ‘Monopoly” game with the monacle and the bow tie? If so. Welcome to the bizarre world of economics 101. "You'll Pay More – And LIKE It". and you’ll get the answer immediately.

6 .S. If you find yourself drifting back into old habits.Randall Putala Author P. I've listed my "101 Big Ideas" at the end of each chapter to summarize the key points. refer to these time and again for a quick 'refresher course' to help you save money throughout your lifetime. just breeze through the “101 Big Ideas” to remember how to get back on track.

but it's just not possible with my schedule. I want the best for my family and I'll buy it even if I can't afford it. I'll be out of here in no time. I'M CHOOSY. let's determine what type of grocery shopper you are at present. Let me grab the most expensive fruits and vegetables and the most expensive precooked items at the deli counter. Which of the following grocery shoppers best describes you? 1. I can find some other area of my life to cut costs – maybe. highest price. I may end up with all the wrong stuff and I'm not sure if I'm getting a good deal. AND I'M FRUGAL. I've planned out my shopping trip to cut my in-store time to a minimum. I'M IN A HURRY. LET ME COMPARE. just give me the makings of a quick meal and I'm out of here. 5. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. I'M LOST. 2. I'M IN A HURRY. I'm too busy. Time is not as important to me as saving money. and pick the cheapest one. 4. Let me compare the prices of each item on the shelf. I'll save 30% or more on my groceries. OUT OF MY WAY. I'll buy whatever is in front of me or whatever catches my eye today. but at least I'm bringing home something edible. advertising campaign. AND I'M CHOOSY. I'M IN A HURRY. I've reviewed my store's sales flyer in advance and selected the special deals and coupons I'm going to use. or position on the shelf ).Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Before we discuss ways to save money at the grocery store. I'm going to select the finest core ingredients and plan my meals as I go based on the best deals I find in my store today. I'd like to save money. Let me grab the highest-quality items on the shelf (based on brand name. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. I've got a family to feed. 3. I'll easily pay only a FRACTION of what most others pay and my family will probably be 7 .

Change your mindset. a first-names-only group for people who habitually pay too much for their groceries. please read it again. It's a very good sign that you're willing to attend today's meeting. It's that simple. Wouldn't you like to be in that final group? Welcome to the first meeting of "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous".eating better and healthier food than theirs. because this means you've acknowledged the problem and are willing to take action to change it. You CANNOT CONTROL the prices that the grocery store charges you. and you'll lower your food costs. If that paragraph didn’t resound like a fire alarm in your brain. 8 . Change your mindset. The MINDSET you bring into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. Now. It’s very important. So do it. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 1 BIG IDEA 1: The MINDSET you bring with you into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. It's that simple. Here. and you will lower your food costs. But you CAN CONTROL your mindset about the items you will need to prepare your meals and hence you CAN CONTROL the items you put into your cart. our therapy starts with the MINDSET you carry with you into the store.

4. Unhappy campers. Uneaten goods. 3. Everyone is different. You never seem to get around to cooking the items you purchase. you have items that disappear as soon as you bring them home. A budgeting problem is hardly ever managed by reducing the AMOUNT of food you bring home. Does your family ever politely suggest that your menu choices somehow fail to live up to their expectations? (Or perhaps they throw their full plates into the sink and yell "this food #*!)@"</&#s!"). d. freezer. You get significant complaints whenever you serve the items you purchase.Chapter 2: The "7 Deadly Sins" (Signs that you may be losing the "grocery game") 1. If the food that you thought you needed is still in your fridge. b. you may not be making smart choices for your family. c. What percent of your family's take-home monthly income is going towards food? Is it reasonable. and they sometimes go bad before you realize it. "there's nothing to eat". You have items that you never seem to run out of. and everyone likes different things from time to time. If any of these symptoms apply to the food situation in your home. If you often find one of your kids standing in front of the refrigerator shouting. you're probably suffering from an insufficient food supply. Are you experiencing these symptoms? a. Conversely. This is also known as spending too much on not enough. Insufficient food supply. they're a good indication that you are purchasing the wrong items – or 9 . High grocery expenses. A strategy like this does not make for happy campers and is rarely sustainable. or is it OUT OF CONTROL? 2. Add up the total of all your grocery purchases. or pantry months after the fact. you probably have a troupe of unhappy campers and it's your job as the conscientious and devoted parent you are to address this problem. Keep your receipts for one month. If this is the case.

so you put it in your cart. so you did. Your significant other might even weigh in with their opinion. Your cooking proportions are too large. 5. Do you routinely throw a significant amount of food in the trash or down the drain? This means one of two things: a. Steer yourself back to the basics. Excessive leftovers. (More on this subject later in the book. b. Sticker shock. You're cooking the wrong stuff. keep reading. item by item. 6. It just looked good at the time.) The primary job of grocery store marketers is to make you believe that you NEED their product to adequately feed and appease your family. It's important to correct this type of eating disorder early-on – and this book can help you. There is a HUGE disconnect between this premise and the reality of the situation. but few people notice it. Your family just isn't "into" to the food you're cooking. You can adequately feed a family of 5 for a few dollars if you select the right foods and recipes. or you're making too many different dishes during a given time frame.the wrong quantities of items – for your family's needs. You're cooking too much food. 7. Have you ever come home from the grocery store and really looked at your receipt? I mean more than just glancing at it – I mean reading it line for line. But something made you want to take that action. and your budget will 10 . The TV commercials you watch and the magazine ads you read are designed by food manufacturers to steer you away from cooking fresh foods and steer you toward buying their the high-priced pre-mixed concoctions. Binge snacking. You may not even know WHY you put it in your cart. Are frequent snacks replacing meal times in your household? Do your kids skip the meals you cook only to wolf down an entire bag of chips at midnight? Eating the wrong kinds of food – at the wrong times – in the wrong quantities – can very quickly translate into serious health problems. "how could you pay $X for THAT?" You probably don't want to admit that you didn't check the price in the first place. Sometimes the items that looked so good at the store cause palpitations when you see what you actually paid for them.

prebagged. 11 . you'll all be happier and healthier. and even the signs in the grocery store. Re-program your brain to ignore these messages and rely on your own common sense to buy core ingredients instead. If you can learn a few simple techniques to stretch your food budget and allow them to eat BETTER.thank you for it. it doesn't matter what you're buying or what you're cooking: something is significantly wrong in your relationship with food. BIG IDEA 4: If your garbage disposal consumes more food than your family. BIG IDEA 3: Your family is not going to be willing to eat LESS. BIG IDEA 5: The TV commercials you watch. you either have to sacrifice some of the things you currently enjoy. or find a way to buy more for less. Is your income rising to keep pace? If not. pre-cooked. the print ads in your magazines. The second choice may seem a little painful at first. but remember that in today's economy you're going to have to work harder JUST TO STAY EVEN. expensive meals. are all geared toward getting you to FORGET about cooking fresh and rely on pre-mixed. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 2 BIG IDEA 2: Grocery prices are rising faster than just about any other commodity in your life.

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Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 classic shopper types, and how grocery store owners attempt to extract the most possible cash out of each of your wallets – i.e. how each of your may be losing “the grocery game.” 1. "OUT OF MY WAY, I'M IN A HURRY". You just got off work. Latchkey kid #1 is at his friend's house waiting for you to get home. Sports jock kid #2 is due back from baseball practice in 45 minutes. Workaholic hubby gets home in about an hour. All three are expecting a good dinner, meticulously prepared by tender, loving you. Your approach: "GET OUT OF MY WAY, GALS, OR I'LL MOW YOU DOWN!" You're zooming through the aisles snagging boxes and cans of anything that looks fast and edible that will pacify the hungry mob at home. Saving money on groceries is just about the furthest thing on your mind. Until you balance the checkbook later that week. Uh-oh. "How did we spend $900 on groceries last month? That's UN-BEE-LEEVABLE! What, do you not check the prices? Don't you ever buy things on sale?" Here are some tips exclusively for this shopper type: a. BLOCK IT. Create a 'block' of recipes and ingredients that you can fall back on. I recommend buying a small pocket-sized spiral book. Write down the simple recipes for meals you know your family will eat. List the ingredients you'll need. Divide this notebook into 6 sections and highlight the bottom with a marker to create visual tabs for quick reference: i. Main Courses. List the simple things your family will eat like Sloppy Joes, Hamburgers, Casserole, Chicken Fingers, etc. ii. Side Dishes. List things like Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Au Gratin Potatoes, etc. iii. Snacks. List simple recipes you can make to pacify the hungry mob at odd hours of the day, things like Caramel Corn, Potato Skins, Nachos, Sandwiches, Fruit Salads, etc.
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b. REPLACE IT. Use these blocks of recipes to purchase core ingredients at the store, INSTEAD of the bags of pre-mixed / precooked items you've been buying. As you build your list of substitute recipes, you'll slowly wean yourself away from buying the higherpriced items. Add to your list of recipes by browsing the web. Buy some cheap cookbooks at yard sales, or check some out from the library. Keep adding to your list of recipes. If the family hates it, tear the sheet out of your notebook. If they love it, put a star by it. The more you document your cooking successes and failures, the more you'll save. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether from a recipe, a book, or simple experimentation – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family with better recipes, and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time', but you can rely on your own notes. 2. I'M CHOOSY. LET ME COMPARE. If you're a slow and steady shopper but you just can't seem to save money, this description fits you to a T. You compare prices closely: The name-brand item is 99¢, and the off-brand is 89¢. So you buy the off-brand, thinking you're saving money. Not necessarily! If you had clipped a coupon from the Sunday paper for 25¢ off the name-brand item, your grocer would have doubled it, saving you 50¢ on the name-brand item. Final cost = 49¢ for the name-brand item vs. 89¢ for the off-brand item. You would have just reduced your cost of that item by almost 45%! Suggestions for this category of shopper: a. CLIP IT. Clip coupons for every conceivable item you might buy at the store. You're already good at comparing prices. Factor in the power of coupons; it can really impact your budget. b. COMPARE IT. If you're good at reviewing ingredients, compare the cost of buying the fresh ingredients vs. buying the premixed items. For example, if you like the convenience of frozen bagged dinners, consider buying larger portions of each key ingredient, and then chopping down and bagging your OWN version of the premixed dinners. You can prepare 5 or 10 meals in a single afternoon, and lower your cost of each meal by 50% or more!

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3. I'M IN A HURRY, AND I'M CHOOSY. This type of shopper is both finicky and non-frugal. You're the grocery manager's dream customer. They place the most expensive and appealing items at the end caps of the aisles and in the aisle bins, knowing you'll like the look of these particular selections and won't consider the alternatives or the lower-priced items. You are perhaps the hardest nut to crack in the grocery savings game. The best advice I can give you is as follows: a. PORTION CONTROL. Continue to buy the premium ready-made foods your family loves; just buy less of it Make allnatural side dishes to add depth to your meal, while reducing costs. b. MEAL FILLERS. Add items to your menu that are fast, easy, and economical to cook. Put these on the plate along with smaller portions of the premium foods. This way your family fills up on healthy foods – just not the most expensive healthy foods. For example, let's say you typically bring home about $50 worth of Sushi to make a quick dinner for your crew. Try buying $15 worth of Sushi, but add side dishes such as rice with gravy, rice cakes topped with cream cheese and a small dollop of caviar (see, you can upgrade and still save money!) Or how about some celery pieces filled with tuna fish salad on the side? If you're creative, you can fill out the plate with lower-cost items that complement your original menu choices just fine. c. CHANGE THE SOURCE OF THE SAME FOOD YOU SERVE. For example, if you buy take-out Chinese once a week and spend $50 on one meal, consider buying $10 worth of Chinese food and adding some side dishes that you cook at home. One food manufacturer, everyone's favorite uncle, makes a fast-cooking preseasoned rice mix in foil pouches. There are always 2-for-1 deals at the store, and frequently there are coupons for this item in the Sunday paper. It means that you can get real deals on this product. It's fast to cook, and it's delicious. Plus, you'll end up paying 25¢ or so per portion vs. $2.00 per portion for rice from the Chinese take-out place. You don't have to give up the f ine foods you know and love. To save money, simply buy less of the premium meal items and prepare valuebased side dishes to supplement the main food selections. If you plan

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closely followed by completion of your assigned task. like "3 meat items". "5 breakfast items". REALLY. Rest assured. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. Containment is the key word here. Poke holes in potato with fork ii. writing down how many items you'll need that week from each category. if you're trying to bake a potato in your microwave. If you are this type of shopper. If you can find coupons in the Sunday paper for some of the things you like. For example.these side dishes carefully. etc. If this works. you may a problem. great. change it to 7 minutes. you should be pretty open to new suggestions. etc. until you get it absolutely right. START SMALL. all is not lost. though. clip them out and put them in an envelope. You now have detailed notes that you can read anytime you plan to make a baked potato. Try to get to the point that you're reaching your goal of the number of items in each category. Isn't that a great feeling? 16 . As you master each new step. Sprinkle it with sea salt iv. If you need more time. Next. write down the steps: i. I'M LOST. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance your main items as well. 8 minutes. Chances are you feel pretty hopeless when it's time to grocery shop. Cook for 5 minutes on high. Work on learning to cook individual items really well. The best bets to get you on a more logical course in your grocery store visits are: a. and write down notes for this. small steps to organize your shopping trips. If you actually enjoy wandering around the grocery store like a lost helium balloon. Wet the potato with running water iii. Make a simple list by category. MASTER SOME SIMPLE FOOD ITEMS. that will turn out perfectly. try cooking 2 potatoes at once. b. Take really. and keep a small spiral binder to note down what you've learned. Keep it simple. really. You're really more of an open slate and one of the easiest to set on the right course. as well as the things you did that DIDN'T work. you're building your own cookbook of things that you know you can cook. 4. and stop there. Be specific and write down the things you did that worked.

down. Some items will be necessities. and you won't always have a coupon for them or an alternative lower-cost option. down. The guy in line behind you.Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and it will help you determine what works for you. AND I'M CHEAP. It will make you think about each of your selections and how they will affect your total.000 – $3. and stay cheap. If you mentally prepare yourself to reach this level. When your 'total savings' amount is $50. Since these are 'after tax' savings – it is like getting a $5. $60. You can experience this every week – year-in and year-out – so you are literally saving $2. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items.500 – $3. Get cheap.000 raise at work.27 – he's kind of wondering what you did. or simple trial & error – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family 17 . You'll waste a lot of food and put up with unhappy diners every now and again – but use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark'. The reason it looks so effortless on TV is because cooking is really very simple. $70 or more – and his 'total savings' amount is $2. It just takes practice to know what works. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 3 BIG IDEA 6: The more you document. you CAN do better if you just review your options. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. 5. the more you'll save. The tips and techniques outlined in this book will be like manna in the desert: you're ready to shop. book. and then doing those same things next time you cook. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. you're ready for the master class. was fascinated watching the 'amount due' total going down. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether by recipe. chock full of the finest foods in the store. The checkout clerk and bag boy were amazed at how little you paid for so much food. I'M IN A HURRY. while kind of ticked off at how long the cashier took to scan all of your coupons. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how professional chefs do things. Imagine being able to wheel your cart out of the supermarket. down.500 or more per year on groceries.

and stay cheap. and you won't always have a coupon for it. To save money. but you can rely on your own notes. 18 . Some items will be necessities. Learn what works for you. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how they do things. is because cooking is really very simple. and document it so you can continue to build on your simple successes in the kitchen. simply buy less of them and prepare value-based side dishes to supplement your main food selections. BIG IDEA 9: Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and help you determine what works for you.with better recipes. But you'll waste a lot of food and have unhappy and unfed diners who won't appreciate your efforts. Use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark' of cooking success before you get started. The reason it looks so effortless to them. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance the enjoyment of your main items. BIG IDEA 8: You don't have to give up on the fine foods your family craves. you CAN do better if you just review your options. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. BIG IDEA 7: Want the convenience of 'single bag / single pan' cooking? Mix your own freezer bags full of core ingredients in advance. and you can prepare an entire month's worth of meals in a single afternoon. and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. BIG IDEA 10: Get cheap. It will make you think about each one of your selections and how they will affect your total. or an alternative lower-cost selection to make. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time'. If you plan these side dishes carefully.

Step 4 – Reflect. Step 2 – Believe. and what experiences in the past are causing you to make these purchases over and over again. What is REALLY going on here…? How do you really feel about food? Examine your motives for buying the types of food you buy. If you still don’t understand the connection. you tend to get what you've always gotten. Seriously.) Step 1 – Acknowledge.. and your weight. Step 5 – Affirm. and what they are doing to your health. Write down how they make you feel. Once you've uncovered the current negatives 19 . Make yourself accept it. Step 6 – Reconsider. your mental attitude. If you do what you've always done. It can be a big help. If you're currently paying $200 per week. Step 3 – Be Flexible. Once you can visualize the change you want. You must first of all admit that you need help cutting your grocery costs. Your second step on the road to recovery involves believe that you actually can pay less for your groceries. seek professional counseling. here is a list of the 12 steps on the road to recovery (with my apologies to every real 12step program out there. visualize yourself paying $100. write down the individual items that you think are causing the problem. If you don’t understand why you do the things you do. You don't have to eat foods you don't like but you've at least got to try out new things once in a while.Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” If you are a candidate "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". If you don't think you have a problem (or won't admit it) you won't get anywhere. you're probably going to be aware that some of the items that regularly appear in your shopping cart are perhaps not the best choices. Change is all about visualization at this early stage. Take a close look at your mental relationship with food and your family's groceries. you've got to be prepared to try new things. Once you've taken a closer look at your groceries.. Stand by this realization.

Start experimenting with new ingredients and recipes. Were they of the best value? Did you check to see if you had coupons for the items you selected? Did you consider other brands that might have been priced lower and been just as good? If not. and if you like it – keep buying it. 20 .' Step 11 – Baby Steps.” When your conscious mind says this to your subconscious. your refrigerator and your freezer. Step 8 – Record. Even the best chefs learn something new every day. Step 10 – Reject. These are the "bad guys" that are eating a hole in your budget… Step 9 – Substitute. put the guilty items back on the shelf. and 'do the aisle again. items that cost too much. Find new ways of doing things that work for you and your family. Step 7 – Be Humble. tofu instead of cheese. your mind may think of it as a reward. I’ve always been able to afford it. You may be thinking. Write down every item that you probably shouldn't have purchased. for the NEW me. you must mentally shout out. Now comes the fun part. buy it. Too much change will cause rejection and abandonment of the whole project. Acknowledge that you cannot remake yourself or your dietary selections overnight. “I can make a better choice that will become my NEW favorite. review the items that you picked up in that aisle. Take a notepad and physically stand in front of your pantry. and enter a new instruction. Examples: plain yogurt instead of sour cream.regarding your shopping habits. or items that could be replaced with lower-cost selections. Consider using lower-priced or healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes. When you reach for that high-priced non-essential food item. There's a lot for you to learn about food. When you have finished going down an aisle in the grocery store. turn around. cholesterol-lowering spread instead of butter. Take it slow. Humilty is the stepstone of success. it's time to look at the positive solutions before you. “I’ve always eaten this. Be open to the idea of putting new items in your shopping cart.” Find a substitute. “STOP!” Reset your mind. I’m entitled to this and no one can stop me from buying it.

and put it in a bank savings account immediately. Reward yourself for taking specific steps to lower your food costs. If you saved $20 – put a $20 bill in your piggy back for a rainy day or a splurge event later in the year. You can open one at the in-store bank that most grocery stores have these days. 21 . If you're very diligent. get 'cash back' equal to that amount.Step 12 – Rejoice.

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and – unfortunately for their budgets – most of them are wrong. In fact. Let's examine the top 10 myths about store coupons. They are always looking for ways to save. and more will be given to you over time. save. REALITY: Only smart people use coupons. I feel disappointed. and it's your lucky day. see if you can find your opinions among these common shibboleths. Oprah Winfrey uses coupons. it doesn't matter. Why then do people turn down $50 to $75. Respect what you have been given and treat it properly. even $100 or more in savings on groceries? By not clipping and using store coupons. Imagine that you are at a social function where door prizes are being given away. They're the number one promotional device in the grocery industry and you're going to have to come to terms with them. on the basis that you already earn a salary and don't really need the $50? Would you return it and ask that it be given to a poorer person – someone who could "really use it"? Of course not! It's found cash. Would you turn it down. You'd snatch up the $50 and celebrate winning a valuable prize. MYTH 1: Only poor people use coupons. if I save $50 on my weekly groceries. you're turning down the chance to save a ton of money. save! Knowing the value of money is the first step to keeping and building even more money in the future. I know that I probably could have saved a lot more if I had shopped correctly! By the way. Love them or hate them. the richest people in the world tend to be incredibly frugal…believe it or not. Imagine your name is drawn from a hat and the prize is a brand-new $50 bill. 23 . She's not exactly poor… Smart. When I go shopping. People tend to have fixed opinions about grocery coupons. knowing how to value money is really what made them rich in the first place. yes – but not poor.Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons The core of any grocery savings plan is store coupons. The richest people in the world don't go around flashing money.

using coupons is a waste of time.MYTH 2: If you can afford to pay full price. money to blow on a super vacation. consider opening your mind up to ways that can SAVE your money so you can do more with what you've got. remember Jack: all work / no play… it doesn’t have a happy ending. here is a huge lesson that you can learn now or learn later: SAVING money is the same thing as EARNING money. you're probably better off hiring someone to do your grocery shopping. Even if you’re making tons and tons of money during your work time. why not just go back to the office for another hour each week? Would that be easier? Folks. Benjamin Franklin said it. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. Would you give less than an hour of your time each week to get it? Would you actually stoop to getting out a pair of scissors and clipping coupons to get it? If not. By this I mean the actual cash you would be generating in your spare time. be sure you're talking about your SPARE time.. let alone using coupons.. When you arrive at this conclusion. If your spare time is exactly the same as your work time.. let alone shopping for yourself. a new hot tub.. But if you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. a monster home entertainment system …whatever you consider TOTALLY FRIVOLOUS and TOTALLY DESIRABLE. and “oh so many” of today's ultra-successful Hummer-driving success stories make this conclusion. And now his picture is on the $100 bill. and not the billing rate you would command if you were in the office. and you really do work every moment of every day. "A penny saved is a penny earned". You probably deserve a break. just imagine for a moment what you and your family could do with an extra $2. not me. I'm talking about totally fun money… money that you can use to do anything you want. you're very lucky. REALITY: If your spare time is worth more than $100 per hour.000 or $3.! 24 .000 per year. so take one.

“I don’t deal with a shylock or a gangster. Yes. tell me this: do you have any credit card debt? If you owe ANY creditor ANY amount of cash. It's not rocket science. Same criminals / same effect: the situation has just been prettied-up to make you feel better about it. Trust me. Some are also for 25 . even if you use coupons. one that will take an immense amount of financial change to dig your way out of. It means that instead of writing a check for $150 for groceries. you write a check for $75. no” you might say. You'll have more money set aside at the end of the month and that can go towards your debt. If you truly feel you do not need to save on groceries.” Okay. you will end up paying less in hard cash at the grocery checkout. MYTH 3: You end up paying about the same. REALITY: Effective couponers can literally cut their food cost in half without even trying. my credit card is with one of America’s premier banking institutions. many of them are for new items that you may not want or need. If you use coupons effectively. it's a nice feeling! MYTH 4: Grocery coupons are just a come-on to get you to buy overpriced items or "weird" items you really don't need. “Vincent” from the bank will simply break your credit score until you cough up the “vig” – 21%+ interest on the balance due. “Oh. That is a fact. Instead. View it however you like. and it really does stay in your bank account. great. That's real money. “Vinnie” the shylock won’t be driving by to break your knee caps. along with the other techniques described in this book. If you write smaller checks to your grocery store. You're still on a pay-as-you-go plan. Picture it this way: saving on your groceries can be a valid way to help you pay off your debt faster. you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day.Here's another way to look at wealth and financial status. REALITY: Grocery coupons are issued for hundreds of everyday items – things you already buy for your family. you're written in that creditor's shylock book.

or you simply don't want the nicer things in life. you probably don't need to use coupons. Would you turn these things down if they were offered to you? I didn’t think so. or don't like it. don't need it. Maybe not today but certainly later in life. Small debt that you start to rack up today will 26 . But I don't know of a single family who would turn down a free weekend in the Bahamas or at Disney World. when you're jetting across the Atlantic with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand. Use the coupons you need and don't use the ones you don't. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. Then. the techniques described in this book provide a real opportunity for you to start doing so. Smart money management never goes out of style. Just remember this: all grocery products were new at some point in time. I don't know of a single person who would say "no" to getting a free new wardrobe every year. You shouldn't use coupons as an excuse to buy things you don't need. MYTH 5: People will think I'm destitute if I use coupons. if you don't regularly treat yourself and your family to items like these..products that are overpriced. You'd be ignoring the other principles we discuss in this book about planning your shopping list before you head out the door and really thinking about what your family wants and needs. But guess what? If you don't want it. REALITY: If you truly are independently wealthy.. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style.. or a free trip to Paris including hotel and airfare. However. you're right: maintain your affluent / happy / free-wheeling image. If you can already afford these things every year without putting a dent in your budget. and don't use coupons. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. will you care what those nay-sayers think? I didn’t think so. don't buy it! There are hundreds of other coupons available for items your family really does want. picture the people who make you feel destitute in the grocery store: are they on the plane with you? When you're headed to Paris to spend the money you've saved. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time. need and use every day..

regardless of who redeems them.compound into larger debt over time. using their coupon to buy their product. the more products they sell. THIS IS WHY THEY PAY TO PRINT THE 27 . Let the mockers laugh: you’re building for your future. In fact. Eva Peron insisted that Argentina should not cry for her (despite being an enormously popular public figure and despite dying young… see the movie "Evita" for details). The moral of this story: saving pennies leads to saving dollars. and increases sales for the farmers and food producers. the higher the coupon redemption rate. They don't pay tens of thousands of dollars to distribute them in the hope that nobody will use them. higher-priced items. If they didn't want consumers to buy their products. not theirs. REALITY: Grocery manufacturers WANT you to use their coupons. and become repeat customers. Who is most likely to become a repeat buyer of higher-priced items? That's right: affluent households. so this increases jobs for the people at the factory. you really do have too much time or money on your hands… MYTH 7: Grocers do not want affluent shoppers to use coupons. MYTH 6: It's unethical to use coupons if I can afford to pay full price. If you're crying for the Fortune 500-listed grocery manufacturers. an affluent shopper. REALITY: Who spends the most at grocery stores? It's the affluent households who can afford the more 'frivolous' products: pre-mixed items. The grocery manufacturers want MARKET SHARE. The food manufacturer would jump for joy if they saw you. enjoy the products. Manufacturers issue coupons according to a well-structured plan to build market share in specific parts of the country. They must replenish the sold product. super-premium items. etc. they wouldn't issue the coupons. Saving dollars early in life will lead to a much more robust lifestyle in your future. They want people to try their products. Coupons help spur the economy. and that can be very hard to overcome. Couponing is the #1 PROMOTIONAL TOOL available to the grocery industry.

No company would incur the massive expense of testing. new combinations.COUPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. because they believe that consumers will like them. So guess what: once you try the product. they're actually very smart. and distributing a product if they didn't believe the buying public would like it. they want to overcome any price resistance and the natural tendency to avoid trying something unfamiliar. packaging. new flavors. And when you go to buy the product again. it works for the store manager who makes his or her money whether you use the coupon or not. and it works: my kids ask me to buy specific brand names of items that they enjoyed the first time I bought them (brands they wouldn't even know about if I hadn't made the initial purchase using a store coupon. This is the manufacturer's goal. The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. They are DESPERATE to have you buy a box of their latest creation and let your family try it. let's look at this situation from the food manufacturer's perspective. So the hope is that you will become a loyal purchaser and you will pay full-price for the item – this time. REALITY: Again. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. By printing coupons that offer you a large discount on the product. and on and on for years. etc. and it works for your family: you get cheap or FREE stuff initially. chances are high that you and/or your family will LOVE IT. and you get to try the best new and improved products that the industry has to offer. MYTH 8: It doesn't make sense to buy products that I don't normally buy. you won't have a coupon – but you WILL have the request from your family to ‘get more’ of the product. They develop new lines of products.) Couponing works for everyone – it works for the manufacturer who sells more products. They're attempting to BUY your loyalty… 28 . the next time.. They want you in their store and they want you to fill your cart with the best items in their store They're not worried about processing a few coupons if it keeps you coming back.

Imagine what your loan balances would look like if you paid down $5. couponing is not for you. Why would someone like ME need to use grocery coupons? REALITY: Few people are doing as well as they could be. or simply don't care about money.MYTH 9: I make a good living.000 per year. Do you owe ANY money on ANY loan. If you are independently wealthy. 2. Do you have the very latest clothing. Do you currently owe a balance on a credit cards? If you answered YES. Save your pennies.000. you've just lost your vote. Or. Case closed. At least not the same tomorrow as today. and couponing is a step in the right direction. If you don't mind paying hundreds of dollars in interest each year. REALITY: If you do it right. you're right – you don't need to use coupons but you also need to have your head examined (!). couponing will only add one or two hours to your shopping time per week and it can easily save you $50 per week on groceries Plus. etc. why don't you run out today and pay cash for everything you've ever want? If you could. and save some for your own use. $2. 4.? If not. Examples: 1. 3. (Yogi Berra should have said that…) MYTH 10: Couponing is hard to do. nickels. and a real waste of time. it can be fun. If you honestly couldn't pay cash on the barrel today. give some to charity. Do you honestly have more money than you need? If so.000 per year. dimes and dollars now! Because if you spend like there's no tomorrow – there might not BE a tomorrow. you're right: you don't need to save money. home furnishings.000 or more per year in your spare time – without working – and it's something that 29 . you need to save more money. You’ll feel better about it. including your home mortgage? Couponing could save you $5. Just about everyone could benefit from saving money. if you have some other method to earn $1. electronics. cars.

BIG IDEA 14: Write smaller checks to your grocery store. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. open your mind to ways that you can SAVE money and do more with what you've got. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. you need to GET OUT OF DEBT as quickly as you can. because that is what made them rich. couponing takes a little effort. it's the chance to make $40 an hour without lifting a finger…or even a pair of scissors… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 5 BIG IDEA 11: The richest people in the world still do many things the way they did early in their life. this is simple math – but sometimes the obvious doesn’t hit home until you think about it. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. BIG IDEA 13: If you have credit card balances or any amount of consumer debt. BIG IDEA 15: All grocery products were new at some point in time. Save money on groceries. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. you should pursue it. BIG IDEA 12: Saving money is the same thing as EARNING money. and use the money to pay off your debt quicker. you're very lucky. If your spare time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. If you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. Yes. And for you. it's less work for them than clipping your lawn. small debt that you start to rack up today will compound into 30 . Maybe not today – but later in the month or later in the year – and certainly later in life. Yes. and you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day.you enjoy .. Conversely. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time? BIG IDEA 16: Smart money management never goes out of style.. But the ends justify the means.

. and they want you to fill your cart as high as it will go. Save money NOW while you’ve still got it – and you’ll have a lot more money later in life when you’ll need it more. Or a pair of scissors… BIG IDEA 22: Be charitable to yourself by using coupons and selecting brands that are on sale. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour.. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. BIG IDEA 21: If your time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. They're not worried about accepting a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. it's less work for him or her than clipping your lawn. they're issuing them to gain market share and win your loyalty. 31 . If you really don't need to save money. And for you. BIG IDEA 19: The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. BIG IDEA 17: Don’t worry about taking money out of the pockets of the major food manufacturing companies. you'll feel better. give it to a real charity. They want you in their store. in fact. it's like making $40 an hour without lifting a finger. They don’t worry about overcharging you. with the best items in their store. and they’re already rich! BIG IDEA 18: Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. and that can be very hard to overcome. You might even say – perish the thought – that they're attempting to BUY your loyalty… BIG IDEA 20: Later in life. very smart. they're actually very. and so will they.larger debt over time. you probably won’t make the same income that you make today.

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2. 3. This is the actual implementation of the plan.g. then WORK YOUR PLAN. If not. (e. BASIC COUPONING STRATEGY Here are the 10 "sacred rules" of couponing. Learn them. Let's look at the STRATEGY behind couponing. TACTICS. up to 60¢. They are in excellent physical condition and are well-versed on their team's playbook long before the first ball is hiked. i. up to 50¢. 33 . DOUBLING: Find out if the grocery store offers DOUBLE COUPON redemption. DOUBLING LIMITS: Find out the maximum coupon value for doubling. The secret to tackling any major goal is to PLAN YOUR WORK. STRATEGY. 1. NEVER try to use an expired coupon. EXPIRATION: Check expiration dates religiously before you shop. etc. Players train and exercise for months before they play the first game of the season. 20 coupon maximum per visit). Think of the actual process of grocery shopping as being like a football game. The "grocery game" is a lot like a football game: If you PLAN to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you hit the aisles of your grocery store. you WILL save money. Generals always plan before they implement an attack on the battlefield.e. This is the creation of a PLAN. there are two parts to any battle plan: a. and the many rules. b. up to 99¢. Also find out if the store limits the number of coupons you can redeem in one visit. regulations and insider tips you'll need to know before you hit the grocery store. leave immediately and find a store that does. The battle to save money at the grocery store begins long before you set foot in the store.Chapter 6: Strategy and Tactics: How To Win the War for Your Wallet As any military strategist will tell you. Live them.

Coupons are negotiable documents. CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS: Is the coupon redeemable for all sizes. e. especially to the grocer who accepts them. if you knowingly attempt to redeem an expired coupon you are committing attempted fraud. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS: Does the coupon require you to buy 2 or more of the item to get the discount? 8. CLIP EVERYTHING. Most coupons are brand specific. Plus. NEVER try to redeem a coupon for a brand other than the one shown on the coupon. Clip and keep ALL coupons for products you may want. They have real value. The scanners in most grocery stores identify each coupon by linking the barcode on your coupon to a database of valid coupons in circulation. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS: Is a matching purchase needed to redeem the coupon. EXPIRATION Food companies issue coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. or even FREE in some cases! Let’s review each of these 10 strategy items in detail.g. You will enjoy a double discount that gives you the item for a very low cost. 7. even low-value coupons. If your coupon is expired. (can you buy only 1. Almost every coupon you clip will have an expiration date. Many check out clerks check the expiration date before they scan the coupon. BOGO POLICY: Find out the store's policy on BOGO (Buy One / Get One Free) specials. or must you buy 2?) 5. Take a minute to scan through ALL of your coupons before 34 . flavors and variations of the product. buy milk & cookies to get X¢ off on the cookies? 10. BRAND REQUIREMENTS. Look for items that are on sale that you have a coupon for. HYPER VALUES. the scanner will catch it instantly.4. (HINT: The highest-value coupon may not provide the best overall value.) 6. or is there a specific choice requirement defined on the coupon? 9.

But just bear in mind that the store is simply the brokering agent for the coupon.. From that point on.) As I stated above. they start to appear in stores. Do it once too often. 35 . so there's another reason to be aware of coupons that are almost at their expiration date (but not beyond it.) The expiration date can actually work in your favor. they have no chance of getting credit for it. more and more consumers redeem the coupons. So you are really attempting to steal from the store. the food companies use coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products.you go shopping so you can stay on the right side of the law… and your store manager.. and your store manager may choose to call you out on it. At some point near the middle of the promotion. If they accept a coupon that is expired. So when they issue a coupon on January 1st with an expiration date of March 31st. (It’s unlikely that anyone has ever served jail time for attempting to redeem an expired grocery coupon. so the total number of coupons redeemed goes up. It looks something like this: The day the coupons are distributed. the total number starts to decline and eventually trails off. Over the next few weeks. the volume of coupons redeemed hits a peak. they are anticipating a 'bell curve' in their response.

Some manufacturers are printing the words "DO NOT DOUBLE" in the margins of the coupon. especially senior citizens and families with children. or offered as a 'BOGO'. If you were a product manager at the food company. you MUST shop there to get the most for your money – regardless of your store preference. and they may set a limit of 10 coupons per visit. When you see a store offering tripling of coupon values.If you charted out the total number of coupons redeemed from January 1st through March 31st. This is when many products are put on special. avoid these coupons if you are not willing to settle for the face discount value. it's common to see doubling limits increased to 99¢ in value. In areas with only marginal competition. and may do something to boost sales until the next coupons are distributed. Find out if your store doubles "DO NOT DOUBLE" coupons. In areas with high competition. you would see that very few coupons are redeemed in the last week of the promotion – between March 24th & March 31st. It's almost mandatory when there are multiple grocers in your area competing for your business. 36 . and a limit of 20 coupons per visit – or no limit at all. you may find TRIPLING of coupons from time to time. See the 'BOGO' section later in this book to find out how this works. Your store may or may not choose to double the coupon – and unless you know their policy for certain. The retailers know that only a small percentage of shoppers will actually take advantage of this offer – and those shoppers that do use coupons will often have just one or two that they found in their morning paper. VERY FEW PEOPLE USE COUPONS and this can be to your advantage. DOUBLING Coupon doubling is a popular technique used by grocery stores to attract shoppers. a grocer may limit doubling to coupons up to 30¢ or 35¢ in value. In areas of EXTREME competition where the grocery chains are fighting for market share. you would be concerned about declining sales at this point. Some important rules to know about doubling: 1.

although some stores go as low as 35¢ and some go as high as 99¢. When you view the face value of your store coupons. you will very likely be disappointed at the check out counter. you will save 40¢ by choosing Brand B – EVEN THOUGH your coupon had about half the face value of the coupon for Brand A. Determine the net redemption value of your coupon before you get to the checkout counter. It’s true. b.59 $2. Here is an example: Brand Name Store Price Coupon Value Net Cost To You After Coupon Doubling Brand A Spaghetti Sauce Brand B Spaghetti Sauce $2. DOUBLING LIMITS Every grocery store sets its own limits on the high value of coupon doubling. Two factors have contributed to your savings here: a. Again.29 on sale $1. But combined with the sale price. you should get in the habit of determining their actual redemption value in the store you are shopping in.19 As you can see. The price savings on Brand B seems very small but can often make a huge net difference in your total grocery bill. BEFORE you shop there.2. More about this later.59 (coupon not doubled) $1. but it will pay off big 37 . Store sale. IF the store has the item on sale. If you don't. Check the prices for ALL brands for which you have coupons. Doubling value of the coupon. You can eventually achieve a lower net-cost per unit by selecting a brand for which you have a lower-value coupon. the net savings effect is multiplied.55 $1. This will take a little practice. A lesser-value coupon that is doubled can be worth more than a larger coupon that is NOT doubled. The most common level you will find is 50¢. You may want to use a lower-value coupon. You must know the doubling limit of the store you are shopping in. which could net out a greater discount for you. the coupon net value difference here seems negligible – only 10¢ net difference.00 $.

Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store. The items must sell before the expiration date or be discarded at a 100% loss to the store when the expiration date is reached. Coupon Face Value Redemption Value After Doubling 25¢ 35¢ 55¢ 60¢ 75¢ 50¢ 70¢ $1. They may have ordered too many of a given item and they simply do not have room to store them. 2. the lower the coupon value. the highest value coupon does NOT always result in the greatest discount. the greater the net discount. BOGO POLICY Remember those old 'alien from outer space' movies where the jet pilot reported a "Bogie at 10:00?" You need to be on similar high alert in the grocery store: "BOGO in aisle 10!" What is a BOGO? It's a "Buy One / Get One" deal. Why do stores offer BOGOs? 1. It may be cheaper to clear the item out at half the price. This is why knowing the doubling limit of your grocery store is so important. you get the second item for FREE when you buy one at the regular price. 38 . the cost of storing the excess items may be excessive.time in terms of savings. Here are some examples on how you should train your mind to think of coupons of different valuations. OVERSTOCK. Alternatively.10 60¢ 75¢ As you can see. This example is for a store that has set a 55¢ maximum value on coupon doubling. Sometimes. EXPIRATION DATE. Perhaps the items did not sell as quickly as the store manager had anticipated and the inventory is approaching its expiration date.

do not pass up the BOGO deal. if the BOGO is for a non-perishable item that you could use in the future. it makes no sense to buy the extra (second) item. someone can use the second item.) A store may offer a quick two or three day BOGO promotion to clear out stockpiled inventory. This is the ideal time to use your store coupon. or you cannot use two containers before the expiration date. Many shoppers will assume that if an item is on BOGO special. 4. MANUFACTURER PROMOTION. buy two and put the extra item in your pantry or freezer. The store may be in an intense market share fight with a competitor. they can often entice shoppers to change their store of preference. This is not always the case.3. they can buy just one and pay half the price. You cannot be timid when it comes to knowing the store's policy on BOGOs. Shoppers may visit one time to get the BOGO deals. and the manager is hoping they enjoy the shopping experience and the values enough to switch stores permanently. If you honestly don't need two of an item. They will NOT advertise their actual BOGO redemption policy. To build market share for a specific product in a specific store. Many times they are store-specific. By advertising a number of BOGO deals. and it can make a big difference in your checkout total. and in many stores it is NEVER the case. Grocery stores will blast their BOGO deals in big type on the front page of their flyers. You could also consider donating it to Second Harvest or your local food bank. If you were going to buy the item anyway. Why? Because they have nothing to gain by doing so. or whether you can buy just one at half the price. (although they are often chain-wide promotions offered by the leading grocers. LOSS LEADER. BOGO promotions are quick for a retailer to implement. the manufacturer's representative may give the store free merchandise to give away under a BOGO deal. Here's an example to help you understand why: 39 . Be bold: walk up to the customer service counter and ask the manager whether you MUST buy 2 of the item. However. It is your right to know. and they'll be glad to get it.

they consume so little that the second box would become stale before they use it.75 off normal retail on one box of cereal. $1. To keep senior customers happy.50. 50¢ off on one box purchase. Box. Seniors who live alone often do not need two boxes of a product.25 per box of cereal. CHECK WITH YOUR STORE BEFORE YOU BUY! If your store allows half off purchasing of one item in a BOGO deal. many stores will allow you to buy one box at half price. get one free. regular price $3.75.50. 50¢ off on one box purchase. You have now saved $2. Box.25 each.50.50 for two boxes of cereal. And 40 .50 – more than 54% OFF RETAIL! SUPER SECRET: Some stores have altered their BOGO policy to meet the needs of senior citizens.75 for one box of cereal. look how much you could save in this same example: PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: Gummy Gunk Cereal. rather than buy one at full price and take a second box free.PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: BOGO SALE PRICE: NET COST TO YOU: Gummy Gunk Cereal. Buy one at $3. $2. 21 oz. for a grand total savings of $4. Store doubles the coupon value to $1.00.00. regular price $3. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. You have now saved $2. a savings of over 73% OFF RETAIL! CLIP EVERYTHING Let's cut to the chase: there is no need to clip coupons for 'Super Sugar Shack' cereal if you're a senior and don't have grandkids. 21 oz. OFF ONE” POLICY: NET COST TO YOU: $0. BOGO SALE PRICE AT STORE WITH “1/2 Buy one at $1.

some cereal companies will issue coupons good for two or more boxes of any brand of cereal they make. you can look at the logos on the box to verify that it's one of their brands. OR. And the 'nickel and dime' coupons that you might think worthless can really add up in certain situations. You might like the brands you haven't tried. Where this gets tricky is when the coupon is for a 'family' of products. it means that it is ONLY good for Brand A Peanut Butter. not Brand B or Brand C. and they deserve the sale it generates. a feeling of euphoria and power. it is a thrill you will enjoy every week. After all. Be doubly careful about checking 41 . it's the thrill of the hunt.29 79¢ Sale Price 99¢ 59¢ Coupon Value 25¢ 30¢ Doubled Value 60¢ 50¢ Net Cost To You FREE 29¢ 49¢ % Savings Off Original Price 100% 82% 63% $1. or coupons that at first glance seem worthless. systematic couponing. If you follow my techniques for regular.there is no need to clip a coupon for denture cream if you're twentyfive and have a full set of pearly whites. which will typically show each brand they manufacture. And that's just about the best possible way to stretch your grocery budget. But as you can see in our example.29 50¢ $1. What I mean by 'Clip Everything' is do not avoid coupons for brands you haven't tried. For example. it can lead to getting a product totally FREE. It's not the free merchandise that is the reward. and not clip it. it results in what you will come to know as 'Coupon Nirvana'. Plus.00 Many people will pass over a 30¢ coupon as trivial. the Brand A marketing people spent big bucks to get that coupon into distribution.69 $1. BRAND REQUIREMENTS When a coupon says it is good for Brand A Peanut Butter. A good way to tell is to look at the photo on the coupon. No legitimate grocer would accept a coupon for a brand other than the one shown. and you'll especially like them if you get them for FREE or close to free. Here's an example: Item Hot Sauce Crackers Ketchup Original Price $1. over and over again.

SIGNS LIE. but the coupon may be valid for only one of these four types of frozen dinners. and they may have five or even ten line extensions in the same food category. "Singles". only to realize at the checkout line that the coupon is for a different implementation of the same brand. but the sign was placed among the regular versions of the product. This is especially true with brands that have extensive product lines such as 'healthy' or 'diet' foods. For example. and the price of the NON-sale bacon was $5. be on the alert that it's easy to select the wrong product. Another thing to watch is that you select the BRAND VARIATION a given coupon is valid for.that you receive your discount on these types of coupons. You may see the brand name on the package and think it is the product described on the coupon. Bringing home the bacon gets a lot more expensive if you aren't on the alert. because they often won't scan properly. so just go ahead and pick any two and get the deal. but bad if you select the wrong variation and have to pay full price for it. "Grilled Specialties" and "Bowls". you'd pay about $7. The industry calls these "line extensions".50 per package). The variation that was on sale wasn't even near the display sign! Was this an intentional deception on the part of the store manager. 42 . WRONGO-PONGO! The ad stated that the "Natural Choice" version was on sale. All four are frozen dinners. They're great for finicky eaters. The immediate inclination is to assume that all three of these variations were on sale. Another thing I'd like to point out about Brand Requirements is that you can't believe your eyes when it comes to signs. If you picked up two of the non-sale variation. one frozen dinner manufacturer offers "Duos". There was a giant display sign in the middle of three different variations of the brand's bacon. and sign wording. sign placement. I had an experience recently where the store's print ad said that a particular brand of bacon was on BOGO sale.99 per individual package.00 extra for the same amount of meat. If you see a wall full of products with the same brand logo. or simply an honest mistake on the part of a sleepy stock clerk? You be the judge… but the price of the sale bacon was $4.99 for two (net cost $2. The scanner will reject the coupon if you haven't selected the exact same type shown on the coupon. You should always double-check the flavor or brand variation.

because you must buy two of them. So don't believe what you see. there is nothing you can do about it. i. believe what you verify before you check out. If you find a sales flyer in your shopping cart. All you can do is to be more careful in the future. and in fact they seem ticked that they were caught in a lie. Check the dates first. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS Some coupons require multiple purchases. The clerks don't necessarily clean out the shopping carts every day. especially when you know you're right. 43 . And once you've left the store.e.And given that the sale sign was in the largest portion of the meat cooler among the largest inventory of all the brands of bacon sold in that store. So don't be afraid to stick to your guns. but it's not on sale now. But you will only be charged for one item. All of a sudden. FLYERS LIE. These type of coupons should put up red flags in your mind: a. Do I need two of this item. So a flyer you find in the cart on a Sunday could have expired the day before. and will I consume this quantity within the normal shelf life of the product? b. they're not so certain.00 on 2". I've had sales clerks state with 100% certainty. and you will still enjoy the full value of the coupon discount. you can't return food if there was no mistake on the store's part. don't use it until you verify that it's the current flyer. so you will have technically purchased two. "Save $1. and the coupon will be authorized. The face value of the coupon is automatically cut in HALF. Factor this in when you are doing your 'net cost' calculations. "that item was on sale last week. SALES CLERKS LIE. I would tend to think that a lot of shoppers made a mistake in their selection." I pull out the current sales flyer and show them the item. The one time that this quantity issue goes away is when the item is on BOGO (Buy One / Get One FREE). The cashier will scan two boxes of the product. When an item rings up wrong.

and paying the regular price for your milk. that is the rule. and possibly a third coupon for the particular brand of cereal.50) and the full retail price of their cereal ($4. So if the coupon says the discount is valid on the 32 oz. bottle. and is trying to sway people away from buying the 16 oz. be sure to read the fine print. take the coupon and the flavor you want to the Customer Service window and ask. package of our cookies AND an 18 oz. bottle only. There is no hard-and-fast rule about this. bottle. The same rule applies to flavors. For example. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS If a coupon offer looks too good to be true. because sometimes the coupon is valid for all four flavors. You may find that there are three other flavor choices on the shelf. You have to understand that there are over 10. The manufacturer may have an interest in promoting sales of their 32 oz. and in other cases it is valid for the one flavor only. The fine type may include the actual offer: Free milk when you buy a 16 oz. The scanner will not accept the coupon if you try to use it with a 16 oz. the store's 44 . Bear in mind that they are counting on you to pay the full retail price of their cookies ($3.00).35). bottle. It may require a matching purchase. in the example above. The coupon may say that the discount is available on the "barbeque" flavor of sauce. the coupon may say "FREE half-gallon of milk". You may actually come out ahead buying store brand cookies and cereal.CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS This is another area where discretion is the better part of valor.85 to get a 'free' half-gallon of milk ($2. They will scan the product and the coupon and let you know if the coupon is valid on that specific variation of the product. So you must spend $7. One way to get increased value through 'matching requirement coupons' is to use ANOTHER coupon for the items required. box of our cereal. In other words.000 items in the typical grocery store. If in doubt. In most cases. It pays to do the math quickly in your head before using a matching requirement coupon. you may find that you have a different coupon for the required brand of cookies.

IF THERE'S NO SIGN. they're marked down to 50¢. BONUS BUYS. box of cereal – so you could end up paying MORE for a SMALLER box if you're not careful!) If you have a coupon for $1. the bonus may apply to the 28 oz.00 for 3 boxes of cereal. typically on a 45 .70 in doubled value for these coupons. You never know until you try. Since the store will automatically double the coupon at check-out time. use it. they offer them at 50% off. so the coupon is entered differently from the others and the store’s computer will not reject it as an attempted double redemption. The only way you'll find them is to read the flyer that shows up in your morning newspaper. plus the cashier will take off the $1. IT MUST BE ON SALE. or approximately $1. you could get $1. You happen to have a coupon for this brand offering 25¢ off a single can of fruit. Another example is the 'Bonus Buys' that a store will offer. A typical example of this is in cereals: All Brand "A" cereals on a list will be 3 for $5.33 per box. In most cases. make sure you understand and use the strategy of 'Hyper Values'. Instead of 99¢. If they are overstocked on a particular manufacturer's line of cereal – or perhaps the manufacturer's rep really needs to boost volume in your area and extends special pricing to the store – you may find that your store extends a 'Bonus Buy' across the entire product line. It just doesn't get any better than this. HYPER VALUES If you use only one strategy out of these coupon value-increasing ideas. you are now getting the peaches for FREE. It's important to note that many of the special deals available at a store are NOT advertised on the store shelf. So if you had a 50¢ coupon for the cookies and a 35¢ coupon for the cereal.00.computer will not consider these to be competing coupons.50 for the milk. You'll now be paying $4. box of cereal and NOT the 18 oz.00 off on any 3 boxes of Brand "A" cereal. Here's how it works: Let's say that your store is overstocked with a certain brand and size of canned peaches. (Be sure to check the product name and package size requirements. the cashier must manually enter the price of the free item into the cash register.

Wednesday or Thursday. These same flyers are also available on a rack when you enter the store. What is really laughable is that literally NOBODY picks up a flyer when they enter the store. How many times have you seen somebody poring over a store flyer before they shop? Almost never. The reason? It's déclassé, and most people 'just don't have time for that'. Again, if your time is more valuable than your money, breeze on by the stack of flyers. The 2 minutes you save by NOT reading the flyer could end up costing you $10, $20 or more. (But hey, it's only money).

Big Idea Recap – Chapter 6
BIG IDEA 23: The greatest savings in the “grocery game” are achieved when you PLAN in advance to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you ever hit the aisles of your grocery store. BIG IDEA 24: The closer to the coupon expiration date, the greater the chances that an additional promotion on the product has already started. It means that you can save even more on the same product. BIG IDEA 25: The food manufacturers know that many people will NEVER clip a coupon. For every person who REDEEMS a coupon, 10 others will READ the coupons and associate those brands with value. In other words, coupons are used to build impressions in your mind that certain products offer excellent quality AND value – regardless of whether they actually do or not. Unless you actually clip and redeem the coupon, you won’t receive that extra value. BIG IDEA 26: Watch for 'tripling' events. This is when a store offers triple the face value of the coupon. Some stores limit this promotion to 50¢, but others will triple up to 99¢ – so many of your items will be totally free after the discount. BIG IDEA 27: Sometimes, the lower the coupon value, the greater the net discount. (WHAT? Did I read that right, or is it a typographical error?) No, you did not read it incorrectly. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store.
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BIG IDEA 28: Take advantage of BOGO deals on non-perishable items, even when you don't have an immediate need for the item. Canned goods or cleaning supplies will keep just fine for a year or two on the shelf – and you won't have to pay full-price the next time you need the item. BIG IDEA 29: If your grocer allows you to buy only one item at half-price under a 'BOGO' deal AND you are using a coupon on the purchase, your net savings amount for the one item will be much higher that if you purchased two units of the same item. BIG IDEA 30: Clip every coupon that is for a product that some member of your household could use, even if you've never tried the brand before. You might find a super-special on the item, and you might end up liking it more than your current brand. BIG IDEA 31: Check, double-check, even triple-check to make sure that the brand variation shown on your coupon is the same as the item you put into your shopping cart. If it's wrong, you will probably end up paying full price for the item. BIG IDEA 32: Don't make assumptions when selecting items that are on sale. Pick up a sales flyer when you first enter the store, and compare the wording & photo of the sale item to the item in your shopping cart; if it doesn't match exactly, investigate until you are certain that you have the correct sale item. Don't trust signs or sales flyers until you verify that the dates and brand variations shown are correct. BIG IDEA 33: Be wary of "save on 2" or "save on 3" coupons. You have to buy so many of the item, it can negate the net value of the coupon. BIG IDEA 34: If a coupon shows a photo of a particular flavor, don't assume it's valid for all flavors unless this is specifically stated on the coupon. BIG IDEA 35: If the purchase of 2 or 3 different items is required to get a free item, you may be able to use additional coupons to lower the cost of the 2 or 3 items individually. BIG IDEA 36: You can get certain items for FREE is you have a coupon
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for sale items and your store doubles the value of your coupon. Read the ads, match your coupons to the ads, and do the math. It's that easy. BIG IDEA 37: Sometimes buying the bigger box costs less than buying the smaller box. BIG IDEA 38: The store is not required to call your attention to the items that are on sale. To get the best values you have to take note of the items that are featured in the store’s sales flyer, find those items, verify that you have selected the EXACT size / brand / variation that is on sale, and purchase those items. The sale items won’t jump into your cart by themselves (but if you’re not careful, similar products that you THINK are on sale but are actually NOT on sale, will be the ones that end up in your cart...)

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Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons
There are many different gadgets and custom wallets on the market to help you organize your coupons. Some cost only a few dollars, others cost $15, $20 or more. YOU DON'T NEED THEM! There's a method I use that is basically free, uncomplicated, and flexible. It's simple, it's easy to remember, and once you get the hang of it, it will make finding your coupons a breeze. Use 8 ordinary white envelopes. If you're super-cheap, you can even re-use bank envelopes, payroll envelopes, or business reply envelopes from your junk mail, (now that's REALLY cheap.) When the envelopes wear out, simply replace them. I keep mine bundled with a rubber band, and I store them in the glove box of my car. That way, I always know where they are. Also they're easy to stick in a pocket when I head into the store. The 8 envelopes are categories of products and stores. Write the category and item listings on each of your envelopes, as follows: BAKED GOODS Bread / Baking Supplies Refrigerated Dinner Rolls / Biscuits Cereal Cookies / Crackers Chips / Candy / Nuts / Popcorn / Snacks CANNED GOODS & BEVERAGES Vegetables Salad Soup Fruit Juices / Soda Coffee MEAT & FROZEN Lunchmeats

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e.00 off any $30 Order) Restaurant / Retail Store Coupons Specific-Store Coupons. I'm 50 . $5.- Bacon / Sausage / Fresh Meats Any Frozen Product (except Ice Cream) CONDIMENTS & SIDE DISHES Pasta / Sauces Boxed Meal Mixes Rice / Grains Salad Dressing Peanut Butter / Jelly Spices / Salt / Sugar Cooking Oil DAIRY Milk / Cheese / Sour Cream Eggs Ice Cream / Toppings Pudding / Dips CLEANING SUPPLIES Household Cleaning Products Paper Products Dog / Cat Food PERSONAL PRODUCTS Personal Hygiene Items / Soaps / Deodorant Medicine RESTAURANT & STORE DISCOUNTS Store Discount Coupons (i.e. Yes. reading a magazine or talking on the phone. $40. it's important that you dedicate yourself to saving money. the system won't work. If you can't set aside 15 minutes per week to deal with your coupons. Drug Store Coupons HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR COUPONS First off. $50 or more and use your 15 minutes for more productive things – like watching TV. i. You should simply spend the extra $30.

If it's something you wouldn't even consider using. But if it's something that you'd consider trying if it was free. NEVER try to use an out-of-date coupon. It's bad form. I open the envelopes one by one and pull out any expired coupons. I keep my coupon envelopes held together with a rubber band. it can actually be illegal. it can be embarrassing. Then. Canned Goods. or a sport – you have to do the same things like clockwork for an extended period of time before you will ever see any results. – CLIP ALL AT ONCE. When it's time to do my sorting. Cleaning Supplies I put the final two envelopes to the side. It's like anything else – a diet. – SORT ALL AT ONCE. go through the coupon sections and cut out any coupon you might consider using. because you really don’t tend to get as many coupons in the Personal Products and Restaurant 51 . You have to have an almost religious zeal for following the system (or whatever system you prefer) and stick to it. if you do it knowingly. I use a small wicker basket. and simply put the Sunday coupon sections in there until I have time to go through them. Side Dishes Right row top to bottom: Breads. go through your envelopes and remove all expired coupons. a hobby. Keep all coupons in one place until they are sorted. When you have the time. It's important that you do not reject coupons by brand name or familiarity at this point. clip the coupon: it may end up free to you if you play your coupons right… – REVIEW EXPIRATION DATES. Dairy. obviously don't clip that coupon. I find that it helps to set a specific time. as follows: – CENTRAL LOCATION. in a specific order: Left row top to bottom: Meats. but the truth of the matter is that saving money takes time and dedication. I lay the envelopes out on the table in 2 rows. Before going on a shopping trip (or at least once every few weeks).being sarcastic. place and routine for organizing and maintaining your coupons. and.

meats. and you could be keeping them out of refrigeration for a dangerous amount of time. etc. Of course. if you buy fresh meats and you put them in your cart first. etc. The most important thing is that you need an establish a fixed routine. you'll have a lot of perishable items in your cart that will melt or lose freshness while you are browsing the inner aisles of the grocery store. even 90 minutes. and will make it more relaxing and stress-free. If you do this. For example. Remember. It's a good thought. I put the new coupons in the envelopes. lunch meat / frozen foods always go to the top left. it’s just mentally easier. Of course.e. Do it the same way each week. i.& Store Discount categories. and avoid the processed foods on the inner aisles. when I'm done. If you follow the expert's advice. Health experts will tell you to shop the perimeter of a grocery store first. If you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. bundle the envelopes back up with my rubber band. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. you can develop your own routine. bread & cereal is always top right. I leave plenty of room between the envelopes. Most of your coupons will be in the “big six”. This will make short work out of organizing your coupons. but not always practical if you've got a family and have to stock up on a wide range of items every time you shop. so I tend to focus on those most of all. follow each step to its completion in a quick and determined manner. and throw away my pile of expired coupons. Add in your drive time home. 60. baked goods. this doesn't 52 . and do it all at once. and easier to stick to. you'll load up on fresh fruits & vegetables. Then. anything you can do to save time with your system will make it easier to follow. they could be out of refrigeration for 45. The benefit of following a routine is that you end up sorting without having to think about it.. and simply stack my new coupons immediately below each of the envelopes. SHOPPING TIME: organize your shopping trip to save time and keep food fresh.

so it's EQUAL in value to Brand A's $1. SCAN.49. and that's the place to start shopping first. so when you buy this brand you'll pay less without using a coupon.99. so the Brand A coupon offers you better savings.00 off on an item we'll call 'Brand A'. SCAN all products in the category to see what's on sale today. THE SYSTEM There are four simple steps when using store coupons: 1. But 'Brand B' may be on sale for $2. consider that you may have a coupon for the Brand B item. making Brand B a better value choice right from the start. your net cost of buying it will be $1. i. POCKET.e. As an even better value proposition. you'll pay $2. and they'll arrive home in much better condition.00 off coupon. you'll get a good value by buying Brand A. you may be tempted to search out that exact item and buy it. Plus. When you have a match of coupon and sale item put the item in your cart. because Brand B is on sale for $2. MATCH. REVIEW all coupons that you have for the category to see if you have coupons for the items that are on sale. 2. There is literally nothing you can buy in the store that is better for your family's health than fresh fruit and vegetables.00 off.99. but your family will eat healthier if you focus your shopping in this section. Save the bread. Let's say that Brand A's normal price is $3. the 50¢ Brand B coupon will be doubled in value at the checkout counter.apply to produce. right? WRONG! In this case. meat and frozen foods for last. Let's review why each of these steps is critical to your couponing success.49 – fully ONE HALF THE NET COST OF THE BRAND A ITEM!!! Over time. When you have an appealing coupon.49. you will find that 53 . Many people would simply look at the two coupons side by side: Brand A's coupon gives you $1. 4. dairy products. 3. $1. But you may not be enjoying the BEST value. Let's say the Brand B coupon is for 50¢ off. With your dollar off. Immediately put the coupon in your designated coupon pocket or other storage place. and Brand B's coupon gives you 50¢ off. It takes a little discipline. And chances are.

and the highest-price space is right at eye level. they have a great food products section. the results will be laughable: the value brand will be preferred in many cases. not all generics offer the same quality as the top-shelf brands. Yes. The plant I worked at manufactured one of the top-selling brands of pickles in the world.SCANNING the entire product category before making a selection will be your #1 key to saving. See if your family can correctly identify which is the high-priced brand and which is the value brand. one of the high-priced brand and one of the low-priced store brand. I prefer the 'baby' peas. I know. And frankly. Cook both items. A can of toppriced peas will look delicious and inviting. the higher-priced items will be at eye level. which go for about three times the cost of generic. Manufacturers pay a 'slot fee' to buy shelf space. So when their factory reaches their quota of producing the name-brand product. they don't shut down the production line. they typically won't know the difference. But here's a little secret (one I know from having worked at a pickle factory during summer break at college). They carry lots of 54 . They change the labels! If you doubt this. Yes. At my local dollar store. because these manufacturers put a lot of effort into their packaging. What did we do when we reached our quota of the name brand product for the week? Well… we switched out the paper on the labeling machine. and serve them up in identical dishes. REVIEW. You'll find that in most stores. They grab the first thing they see that looks appealing. do you really think your family will not eat the generic peas? Unless they see the cans. You may notice that the higher-priced brands look better. Buy two cans of an identical item. while a generic can of peas will look lackluster. They gear up to keep their factories running 24/7. because that is the only way they can get maximum efficiency and return on investment on their plants. folks – it's a little-told secret of the food processing industry. But when they're cooked and on your table. I can assure you. Another quick test is to compare the bottle design. Most people are reactive shoppers. try and run a taste-test contest with your family. and used the generic-brand labels.

size. some of them will be downright awful.. POCKET the coupon. it tastes just like the leading brand. you could find that your coupon is rejected at the checkout counter – the ultimate coupon-cutter's nightmare. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. etc. But if you try them. for example. By this. One top brand sells regular soup. I mean that you should give a final check of the coupon details and the product details BEFORE you put the item into your cart. MATCH. You have to physically present ALL of your coupons at the checkout counter 55 . you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or storebrand product. So if you're astute and willing to do a little testing. POCKET. but it's actually very important.condiments and sauces. Last but not the least. When you taste the sauce. The coupons they issue are typically good for just one of their soup categories. If you forget to MATCH the specifics of the coupon offer to the EXACT LABEL on the soup can. I'm not saying that every item you pick up in a dollar store is going to be identical to the leading brand. chunky soup. Check the brand name. home-style soup. This may seem like a really dumb step. and single-serving microwavable soup for one. Their off-brand version of Worcestershire sauce is in a bottle that is shaped remarkably like the #1 brand in the world. Now that you've chosen the best possible combination. Take soup. You've seen above why it's important to SCAN all of the shelves for the best item and REVIEW all of your coupon and sale combination. as well as the expiration date. and you’ll enjoy a real deal. you might find that they’re the identical product made by the leading name-brand manufacturer. you need to MATCH your coupon to the item before you commit to the buy. flavor. but in some cases it is. Some brands have four or five categories that are completely different. Most of the biggest. In fact. and the coupon may only be good for one category of item. It may not always be the same quality as the leading brands. it would simply be too costly for them to change recipes or ingredients to produce the 'off brands'. kitchen select soup.

the store won't let you go back and turn your coupons in. that's just the way I do it – and it may not be the best choice for you. if I find that I have an expired coupon. So it's important to get in the habit of POCKETING all of the coupons you plan to use. Just make sure you have a true system. they won't be redeemed. you will systematically save money. You can't go back! Once your shopping transaction is completed. If they don't make it into the hands of the checkout clerk. and follow it like clockwork. Again. Again. So the coupons in your pocket that would have been worth $20 or $30 in actual cash savings will now be worth diddly-squat. to be thrown away at the first trash can I encounter. especially if you have ever gotten in your car and realized that you forgot to present your coupons at the checkout counter. on every shopping trip. I use my left pocket. the more likely you are to stick with it over time. BIG IDEA 40: If you can't FIND the coupons you need. Have you ever gotten home with your shopping bags and realized that there was an on-pack coupon that you forgot to use? Nothing is more galling than seeing a 50¢ "REDEEM ME NOW" coupon stuck to a box that you have already bought. you can't REDEEM them.when you are buying your groceries. but that's just a personal preference. does this sound too elementary and ridiculous to you? It won't. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 7 BIG IDEA 39: The simpler the system. You could have taken the family to the movies with that money. Every minute you put into organizing your coupons will 56 . but now it's gone. Here's another reason why you have to be diligent in PHYSICALLY TRANSFERRING THE COUPON to your "POCKET" location for redemption. the easier it is to use – and the easier it is to use. and putting them all in one safe secure place. And it WILL add up over time. I crush it up and put it in my right pocket. If you do things the same way each week. Create your own system or use mine. During the course of my shopping trip.

and you can actually SAVE MONEY by buying the EXPENSIVE brand! BIG IDEA 46: Most of the biggest. calculate the FINAL COST of the item in your head after factoring in the doubled coupon value. you'll become more alert to spotting bargains and avoiding impulse buys. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products.. don't let the 'bargain' price of an item make it your #1 choice. it's a sure way to remember to present them to the cashier before you pay.. similarly. BIG IDEA 42: Keep an open mind as to which products you would consider trying. you'll never maximize your full potential of reducing your food budget. BIG IDEA 44: Learn the layout of your grocery store(s). Plan out a mental "road map" of how you will routinely shop in that store. once you leave the store. If you are astute and willing to do a little testing. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. Reading the fine print can save you a bundle at the checkout counter. your coupons aren't worth the paper they're printed on… 57 . BIG IDEA 48: Make it a routine to keep your coupons in the EXACT SAME PLACE every time you go shopping. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or store-brand product. In other words. BIG IDEA 41: Consistency is the key to effectiveness in any system. If you only consider buying familiar products or ones you've tried and used before. Remember. Follow that road map every time you do your big weekly shopping run. buying more EXPENSIVE foods could actually SAVE you money. BIG IDEA 47: Don't assume that a coupon is good for all sizes / flavors / variations of a particular brand item – even if it seems to be an obvious match. Do things the same way every time. BIG IDEA 45: Don't let the high price of an item scare you off buying it. and you'll reduce your in-store time significantly.be paid back to you in greater savings at the cash register. and you'll get better at them day after day. BIG IDEA 43: if you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money.

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too. You may think you're not a candidate to save money. it is presented here for comparison purposes only. and find a 50¢ coupon for a product that your family uses on a regular basis. Step 5.Coupon Litmus Test If you are still questioning whether or not you are a "coupon person" (or could ever become one.S. Keep this one fact in mind: the grocery store cash register doesn't care which is which: it sees both items as having a $1. doesn’t it?) Take a dollar bill out of your wallet or purse.) here is one sure way to settle the issue once and for all. chances are there is one somewhere in your office. Step 4. I don’t waste REAL money. or you simply find the whole process distasteful. and insert the 50¢ coupon into the shredder.00 value against the total purchase price of your groceries. Look in your Sunday newspaper coupon section. Mint. It's true: some people have complete and total disdain for grocery coupons. Step 1. that’s REAL money we’re talking about. *NOTE: Destruction of U. and for shock value. Step 2.Chapter 8: The Currency vs. people! 59 . The only difference is that they were issued by different entities: one by the U. Wake up and smell the mocha java. the 50¢ coupon would have been doubled in value at the time of redemption. currency is illegal. Locate a paper shredder. Okay. If you are concerned that you may just be this type of person. Does shredding the dollar bill bother you more than shredding the coupon? Why? At most grocery stores.* (Hey wait. either because you just can't be bothered to clip coupons. and think they aren't worth the paper they're printed on.. try taking the 'Currency vs. Turn the shredder on. so it is IDENTICAL IN VALUE to the dollar bill. (Feels good.S.. insert the dollar bill into the shredder. Coupon Litmus Test'. and one by a food manufacturer.!) Step 3. Now. Do not actually implement this test.

Then. "don't you feel like you've wasted a lot of time when you throw away expired coupons?" There is a bit of truth in this. but sometimes you just don't have those extra 15 minutes.CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS: purging your expired coupons. you're throwing away cash. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. 60 . The coupon you don't clip because you "can't afford that brand" could have made that item cheaper than the store brand on your next shopping trip. If this is your situation.00 item for 29¢ and you have to pay $1. The coupon that you didn't clip might be the one that you wished you had later on… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 8 BIG IDEA 49: Coupons work just like currency at the cash register. When you think you're getting a $3. you don't know what's going to be on sale at your store in three or four weeks. And remember: there is no way for you to know which items will be on special at your grocery store in three or four weeks. the cashier informs you that the coupon you have presented is expired. just take an extra second to check the expiration date before you transfer the coupon to your left pocket. Some people say. I sometimes get in a hurry. It only takes an extra 15 minutes or so when you're adding new coupons. BIG IDEA 50: Unless you're an industry insider or a psychic. store sells single item for half the price. I've caught myself about to make a mistake like this many times. or you can revel in the ones that you caught. and to be perfectly honest with you. The couponer's nightmare is thinking you've just scored the ultimate trifecta: BOGO deal. I only purge my coupons about once every month or so.59 for it. you're still getting a great deal – but it's a huge let-down because you got tripped up by the fundamentals. coupon in hand. If you're throwing away the coupons from your Sunday paper. especially when you're throwing away a stack of 50 or 75 coupons that you painstakingly clipped a few months earlier. It's all just part of the process. But think like a fisherman: you can whine about the ones that got away.

GET ANALYZED. at every store you shop in – even if you only shop there once or twice per year. 4. minimally tells you) is that their system is collecting information on your family's purchasing habits and product preferences. In most stores. You join the club. The cashier will scan the barcode on the card or key fob. the ONLY way you can get the 'sale' prices on the item is to be a member of their shopping club. you present your card or your key fob to the cashier. SCAN. You must join every club. You will receive the club member discount price on the featured items. and B. What the store DOESN'T tell you (or at best. and the computer will instantly recognize you as a club member. 3. Often. Why? Because you will save money immediately and instantly every time you shop. 2. Cards & Counterintelligence FREQUENT SHOPPER CARDS: Value.Chapter 9: Clubs. with a price. JOIN. the club member's price. They sell this information to data compilers and marketing firms. a store makes more money by selling this information than they do on the products you have purchased! Why is your information so valuable? The truth is individual family 61 . They will typically show two prices: A. the regular price. You sign up for the program at the Customer Service counter. When you go to check out. the only way to get the lowest prices in the grocery store is to join the store's frequent shopper club program. Look for the special discount signs on products throughout the store. and typically they give you a plastic sheet with a punch-out membership card and a couple of punch out key fobs. and the barcode identifies you to the store's computer every time you shop there. SHOP. As any astute shopper knows. All of these items feature a barcode. Here's how these clubs work: 1.

i. Of course. your data can help identify trends and validate information that is VERY profitable to the grocery product industry. Here's something else that few shoppers know: consumer product manufacturers pay stores a 'slot fee' for the space on their shelves. Let's say for example that the store features a national brand of cookies at a special rate. The market will have spoken loud and clear and saved the manufacturer a ton of money in promoting that specific product. your age is 35 to 40 and you have 3 children under the age of 10. "Big Brother" is alive and well. they will realize that they DO NOT have to lower the price of this product below this point to maintain market share. The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay.e. and the grocery industry wants you to buy the smallest packages of the most expensive brands at the highest prices.19. For example. so they make the most money off of you. and the discount store brands get the bottom shelves. they will monitor the sales of this item by the total number of items sold. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they 62 . They will have learned that their target audience – affluent young families with children – are perfectly happy to buy two units at a total savings of 40¢ – and there is no need to offer a lower price point or a 'Buy one / get one free' package deal. This translates into huge sales and huge revenues for the manufacturers. let's say that your household income is between $75. BUT – they will also be monitoring the demographics of the people purchasing them.000 and $80. If they find that families with your demographic indicators participate in this pricing offer 45% more than families with lower incomes.99'. when the normal price of a single item is $2.000.information is not extremely valuable by itself. because they know that most consumers are lazy and will buy the first product that they see in the category they are shopping for. You are a powerhouse consumer. But as a member of a specific demographic group. They are committed to influencing you to shop this way. That is why a national brand gets the middle shelves that are at eye level. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. '2 for $3. The national brands pay the highest shelf fees.

The real goal behind these clubs is something… well…. etc. just about every purchase you make is being monitored. The computer knows what every item is. before you get shocked or scared or decide to quit the shopper's club (a truly BAD idea). Every item in the store carries a product code. marital status. Welcome to the Maze. But the main purpose of these clubs is not to save you money. they are in essence telling the store manager. let's look at how this happens: 1. street address. To get your discount card or key tag that entitles you to discounts at the store. 3. If you've ever thought that the aisles in your grocery store can seem like a rat maze in a testing laboratory. talking participant in the world's largest focus group. recorded and analyzed for future use by marketing firms. etc. too. You tell them your name. REGISTRATION. you're not too far off the mark. children's age. you have to fill out a registration form. 2. PRODUCT CODE. you can see it below the barcode on the package. slightly more sinister. you can't keep any secrets from the grocery store's computer. Most of this information is available from national consumer databases anyway. Guess what product that code 63 . Every different size / shape / flavor has a unique code that is captured when the check-out clerk scans the package. in infinite detail.will pay any cost for a particular item. (ever notice that they ALWAYS keep the cheese in the back of the store…?) The truth of the matter is that shoppers' clubs are the ultimate tool used by the food industry to make you a walking. Now. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… This is all a long way of saying that discount clubs will save you money every time you shop. As a club member. CLUB MEMBER CODE. although they will. They may ask you for some demographic information such as your age. You need to join them. That little store tag you keep on your key chain has a barcode.

6 that month. 4. so they can get to the ultimate solution faster. no… Of course it DOES know that your household consumes 1. If your grocery store chain knows all of these intimate details about your household. compared to your neighbor across the street whose family consumes 2. people whose job is to SELL YOU MORE STUFF! Information is money and time is money. So if manufacturer "A" has a wealth of information on the salad dressing preferences in a particular metropolitan area. The information saves them time. their loyal customer? This information is worth BIG BUCKS to people in the industry. packaged it.4 bottle level dropped to 0. surely they're keeping it private – aren't they??? Well. so the manufacturers just focus on THOSE markets? Why would they mess with the many lower or middle-income neighborhoods in the nation? Actually. huh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce…. does it? No. this falls under the category of 'picking the lowest-hanging fruit first'. In fact. where you live. NO. shipped it. The ultimate solution being. They've picked it. They can save a year or more of expensive research time. and what you buy. And these guys know all about the low-hanging fruit. in a word. but prefer the name brand variety. and they can reap this data to sell more of THEIR product using the data.4 bottles of Italian salad dressing per month. Why would they do this to you. Scary stuff. manufacturer "B" may 'cut to the chase' quicker by purchasing this information. But it doesn't know that you like to sneak out and get a pint of premium ice cream on a Saturday night. the top 1/10th of that 64 . But if you view the nation as a giant pyramid based on affluence.represents? It's YOU. But wait a minute – isn't it true that the affluent neighborhoods sell more of everything at a higher price. and sold it for years. It knows that you have tried the store brand dressing once.1 bottles per month. It knows that you got crazy last November and tried the balsamic vinaigrette but it probably wasn't a hit because you didn't buy it again. And it knows that you tried a competing grocery chain in August because the 1. The computer knows who you are. getting you to buy more stuff at a higher price and consume it faster. they'll sell it to just about anyone who wants it. no. SHARED DATA.

the majority of the profit for these food manufacturers is found in the secondary markets and lower. The bottom 90% of the pyramid is the lower to middle-income neighborhoods. because she's buying 4. and lo and behold – the kids could care less whether they're eating Fruit Goop or Berry Blop.7 boxes per month – and not the smaller boxes. The manufacturers of "Berry Blop" cereal are envious. So Betty redeems the coupon and brings the cereal home. Her kids seem to like "Fruit Goop" cereal. 5. But the story doesn't end there… The manufacturers of Fruit Goop cereal notice that Betty's volume – a steady 4.pyramid is the affluent markets. To see how this works. After all. and the food manufacturer is happy because he's successfully migrated Betty away from Fruit Goop. Betty's happy because she saved a lot of cash. not just the wealthiest households.) These values can help Betty really save some cash. if only she would try them. Based on sheer numbers. if they can figure out how to get her to switch brands and become a loyal customer of theirs. SIMPLY PUT: you may live in Podunk. You're part of a larger consumer group. they can use the same technique to influence the 15. but the information on your buying habits is just as important – and possibly even MORE important – than the buying habits of rich people on Rodeo Drive. ZERO 65 . Betty doesn't make a huge income. GOOD DATA = GOOD VALUES. and they'd sure like Betty to migrate over to their brands. let's look at a fictitious customer "Betty" who lives in a smaller rural city.7 boxes for the past 3 years – has dwindled to…. EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. So Betty starts getting some really interesting coupons in the mail or through the internet (see the online coupon section at the end of this book. So the kids are happy. but she's doing alright. but the big family-size boxes. The good part of this whole process is that you are proving your worth to the food industry with every purchase you make.3 million other shoppers like Betty who live in similar-size communities and make similar levels of income.

BOXES! Flashing red lights and alarms are going off in the factory. "Something must be done," shouts the big boss with the cigar in his mouth. And so the legions of marketers snap into action and start blitzing Betty with huge discounts on Fruit Goop cereal. So now she can redeem these coupons on Fruit Goop and save even more money. The kids, meanwhile, are mass-consuming whatever she pours into their bowls. They're oblivious. Betty is ecstatic; her monthly food bills are going down. But wait, there's more… The manufacturer of Berry Blop notices that he's losing out again. He redoubles his effort – issuing even more coupons for the brand that he knows Betty's brood prefers two to one over Fruit Goop. So Betty uses those coupons on her next shopping trip. Repeat this cycle over and over, until the Betty clan outgrows their preference for excessivelysugared products, and wakes up to real nutrition. Then, the manufacturers start in on her new neighbors who have younger kids… While cynical and exaggerated, the example of "Betty" above is the basic process of couponing in America today. And while the delivery vehicles are not always so targeted, the industry is headed more and more in this direction. Take note of the coupons that are printed at the cash register: these are the principal ammunition in the household preference wars. Some coupons are printed and delivered directly to the household, but these are on a more infrequent basis due to the high cost. The biggest volume of activity in these wars takes place on a market-by-market level. The industry looks at overall performance by select demographic groups, and responds to the market as a whole by varying the coupon amounts and promotional activity by individual market. This is far more prevalent than individual household couponing. But the industry is getting more household-centric as technology gets more advanced. And certain changes in our technology-savvy households are closer than you think… 6. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO (TV) DINNER? (Apologies to Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn). Did you know that over-the-air TV broadcast is ending in 2009? More and more households are buying High Definition TV sets (HDTV), and soon everyone will have a digital receiver (or 2, 3, 4 or more) in their household. The color and clarity will be fantastic. The number and

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diversity of the channels will be spectacular. And the commercials? Well, they'll be aimed directly between your eyes, or more specifically – your wallet. Let's say your name is Suzy Shopper and your neighbor across the street is Charlie Consumer, and you're both watching the latest chapter of "Desperate Cowgirls", the #1 network show far and wide. When it goes to commercial, you – Suzy Shopper – are viewing a commercial for the latest gas-guzzling vehicle to sputter out of Detroit. That's because you're driving a seven year old import, and your index potential for a new car purchase in the next six months is off the charts. Your neighbor Charlie, meanwhile, is viewing a commercial for golf clubs, because he plays golf six times a month. Hey – wait a minute – how did they know he's a golfer and I'm driving an old car??? And how the heck did they change those commercials out between our two households…??? This is simple stuff with the new technology in place today. And as far as knowing your lifestyle / hobbies / major purchases and brand preference? Heck, they even know what brand toothpaste you use… So how does this relate to you, Suzy Shopper and Charlie Consumer, each snug in your little condos in front of your blazing hot widescreen Plasma HDTVs? The marketers are coming for you both – individually and personally – and they're out for nothing less than total mind control. Okay, that sounded a little out there even for me… but the truth is that your buying habits are being monitored and addressed on increasingly-specific levels. The war for your wallet is gearing up for high speed, high-tech battle. And in the grand scheme of things, you are powerless to stop it. Sure, you can TiVo your way out of the commercials. But guess what? Soon enough, you won't WANT to. And here's why: Here you are, Suzy Shopper, watching the Cowgirls prance across your screen. Before you can grab the remote, a commercial for the new "MegaSmog V8 convertible" comes across your screen, and the graphic says, "Suzy – we'll pay you $100 to test drive this car today!" And you're thinking, "WOW – I could really use that $100 to buy 5 gallons

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of gas for my current car, but I'm never going to buy a new car; I'll just go down there and get my free cash!" So you go down to the dealership, and you get your $100. The dealer is happy, too, because he knows that you are an interested shopper. He will continue to target you until you finally convert and buy the new car. It's a numbers game, so he's just happy to move you up the priority ladder among prospects. Meanwhile, your neighbor Charlie was previously watching Desperate Cowgirls, but he got bored and switched over to the Knitting Network. Guess what? The commercials followed him over there. In the future (i.e. now, or thereabouts), advertisers will buy time by households, segmented by very precise demographic indicators, rather than by blocks of time on a network. So whatever channel you select, you'll get a certain amount of household-specific offers. So Charlie is watching "Knit One / Purl, Too!" – on the knitting Network, his favorite hobby channel, and up comes a commercial for the latest set of golf clubs from Wham-Co. Charlie is perfectly happy with his old set of clubs, but the ad says, "Hey Charlie – come to Gargantuan Golf World this weekend, and we'll give you a dozen balls free – just for testing our new clubs.” Charlie was headed there to pick up some new balls anyway, so he says "what the heck" and heads off to the store. Soon thereafter, he's on the driving range blasting away with his new set of Wham-Co clubs, which, as he discovered at the store, he simply could not live without… THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It's really quite simple: whether you are a prospect for a new car, a set of golf clubs, or a year's supply of Fruit Goop cereal, your shopping selections are VERY IMPORTANT to manufacturers today. If you learn how to play their game and work their system, you can enjoy some real values and real savings. You may scoff at grocery coupons today. But coupons are coming your way, even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them.

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and the truth is that this process will go on very well without you. There is really no down side to this or personal repercussions. So I don't have any problem in recommending shopping club membership to everyone. thank you. and they will continue to do it in the future. you "don't have time" to save money. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… BIG IDEA 54: Get a frequent shopper cart at every grocery store you visit. Are there long-term disadvantages? That is a debatable subject. you DO end up saving money when you use the club card. The decision to join the club or not join the club is a personal one. so make an informed decision for you and your family that matches your personal preferences and comfort levels. If you are a member of a frequent-shopper club. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 9 BIG IDEA 51: If you "don't have time" to sign up for the grocery store shopper's club. they are in essence telling the store manager. but you need to know that you’re part of one of the world’s largest focus groups of all time. BIG IDEA 53: The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. be aware that every purchase you make – or don’t make – is being monitored. BIG IDEA 52: "Big Brother" is alive and well. getting the most for your shopping dollar is first and foremost. for every item in the store. Much of this data originates from the lowly-little 'frequent shopper club' tag sitting on your key chain. You're really not helping any cause or righting any wrongs by NOT participating in the program.The firms that purchase your family's shopping habits and brand preferences from your local grocery store are doing it now. Is this whole process a bad thing or a good thing? Well. 69 . even if you only shop there once or twice a year. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they will pay any cost for a particular item. the bargains are well worth it. Affix a "sucker" label to your forehead and tell people proudly that you pay full price. so there are immediate benefits to you that can help your family's budget. But in my book. every day. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store.

But coupons are coming your way. or a P.O. Of course. The sooner you start the process. not just the wealthiest households. you'll have to pay with cash because they can get your address off your check or your credit/ debit card. because you’ll get lots of free stuff and better deals on virtually everything you buy – even cars. BIG IDEA 56: EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. the sooner you'll get into the higher discount levels. discounts and special values that other people won't enjoy. The shopping actions of a lower-income household are monitored just as closely as those of the most affluent households. You'll get more offers and better values over time. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them. If you learn how to play their game. You'll still get the card and enjoy the discounts. BIG IDEA 58: Today's brand marketers know a LOT about you already. BIG IDEA 60: Sign up for frequent shopper clubs at every grocery store you visit. even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. HDTV sets. BIG IDEA 57: The more coupons you redeem. you'll get the card immediately. Box. 70 . If you're traveling on vacation and need groceries. the more interest you will attract from food marketers.BIG IDEA 55: Concerned about privacy? Register using your work address. and you could save $10 or $20 just on your one visit. BIG IDEA 59: You may scoff at grocery coupons today. you can enjoy increasing amounts of free stuff. cell phones and other high-ticket items. even if you don't plan to return anytime soon. but it will be harder for the store to link this to your home address. get a card at the grocery store in that area.

etc. which issue a monthly flyer of offers. hair coloring. The target for these clubs is not the income-earning. The store that you use to get your prescriptions filled is generally the store that you get your drug store supplies from. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. this one technique alone could save you over $1. When it comes to pharmacies. it is an ongoing store promotion that lets you purchase items and get some or all of the purchase price back in the form of a cash rebate. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. What is a rebate club? Simply put. (Does anyone use toupee wax anymore? There's a question for the ages…) So if you're like most people. you rarely – if ever – venture over to the 'brand X' pharmacy. toupee wax. just to pick up their rebate club flyer. but people do tend to have their #1 favorite in terms of where they buy their shampoo. Visit all the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. even if you don't normally shop there. people are definitely creatures of habit. it's the seniors. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Why you should join every one you can. when they're 71 . Here's a money-saving tip: wander over there at least once a month.000 a year on drug store supplies! It's no secret that the pharmacy chains are in big competition with each other.Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. These are typically found at the larger drug store chains. so most of the big chains offer rebate clubs. Seniors spend more per capita on prescriptions than any other demographic group. My record on free items is $62 in one month.800 a year. It's not always true. The store doesn't care about giving $20 or $30 in rebate money to a senior. hard-working youth of America. If you visit 3 stores a month. because some people get their prescriptions at the food store. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. and every item was something that somebody in my family could use.

) 3.99 bottle of sun tan lotion with a $7. I have found that some national chains offer the rebate club in all markets.00. You may be a struggling young family with a little cash in the bank but you are entitled to get the rebates just like anyone else. they don't want tourists with disposable cash to get a break on anything – especially if they're ready to pay full price without question. It's critical that you check the valid dates of the offer.00 off the purchase price of the item. $2. Here's how rebate club programs typically work: 1. GET THE REBATE BOOK OR FLYER. Or it could be that they only want to offer the book to seniors. The truth is that the stores cannot legally exclude any individual from getting the rebates. Apparently. 2.e. In most drug stores.going to buy $200 or $300 in prescriptions each month. MAIL IN THE REBATE REQUEST. CHECK THE OFFER DATES.99 rebate for buying it.00 or $3. You will typically find items that are offered with a 100% rebate. but it's really more trouble than it's worth. They're trying to encourage repeat visits. One major drug store chain that will go unnamed has started to stagger their rebate offers throughout the month. This is a subtle way by which they try to discourage the 'freebie' nuts that will take anything for free – even if they don't want or need it. but you must buy it between the first and 7th of the month. Others will be $1. the flyer is on a rack as you enter the store.99 item. REVIEW THE OFFERS. but you have to purchase it between the 8th and 16th of the month. because some manufacturers will offer a $3. but in some tourist destinations you have to ask the cashier for a copy of the rebate book. i. but they only tell you this in the fine print. the first free item may earn you a 100% rebate. it's really free.00 rebate on a $2. a $7. the next item may also give you a 100% rebate. Be sure to process your . because they don't want low-dollar customers to take advantage of the rebates. In other words. unless you are super-diligent and/or a frequent visitor to that store anyway. You have to check these carefully. but they don't want people buying it just because of that. (HINT: be a 'freebie' nut. 72 4.

Some of the less-scrupulous clubs or their 3rd party vendors will try to get around sending you a rebate check. don't procrastinate: set a filing procedure that works for you and stick to it. and most people will surely forget to do the paperwork – thus. 6. The stores really don’t want to give you the rebate. For most clubs. your mail-in request MUST be postmarked by February 5th. KEEP A PHOTO COPY. they lose their rebate – and that is what the drug store chains are counting on. Some rebates require that you cut out the barcode off the product. Another critical item is the postmark date on your mail-in rebate request. and they are counting on you to procrastinate. you can photocopy your outer envelope with the postmark date. "I'll do it later" – because out of sight is out of mind. because some of these stores will deny you the rebate if you don't do everything they say. Think you can ‘slide’? Don’t count on it. After a few months. or they will refuse it. That gives you positive proof that you mailed it 73 . It's a good practice to photocopy everything and keep in a file. exactly the way they say it. so they’ll use any and all excuses not to issue the rebate check. If you want to be sure you get every extra dollar that's coming to you. The retailers call this "breakage". 7. if you are responding to a January Rebate Club offer. How does a cash register malfunction and not print the date? It’s beyond me. What you DON'T want to do is say. READ THE REQUIREMENTS. SIDE NOTE: if you are allowed to use your company postage meter. Read the fine print. but you can bet that I called them out on it and eventually got my rebate. Here's a rule that works for me: I don't allow myself to put the products away until I have completed the rebate forms AND sealed the envelope. How did I do it? I had back-up ammunition. or write the product’s barcode number down on your rebate form. I was once denied a $50 rebate check because the store’s cash register didn’t date the receipt. 5.rebate request and mail it off IMMEDIATELY when you get home. you'll have proof of mailing it in. if you haven't gotten your rebate. The sad truth is that a very high percentage of people who intend to mail in their rebate requests never quite get around to it. CHECK THE POSTMARK DATE REQUIREMENTS. which is the next critical point.

USE THE STORE'S GIFT CARD PLAN. it's a huge kick to buy the next month's freebies with a gift card. It's a handy way to get a little extra cash back. then pay any remaining balance with cash. but on more than one occasion I have had a rebate processing company deny my rebate claiming that I violated rule X. Some companies intentionally do not mail rebate checks unless the consumer calls to complain. Don't be afraid to call the rebate company if they're late mailing you a check. 8. rather than have them issue you a check. If your store puts your rebate amount on a gift card. 9. but that's not my concern: I just want what's coming to me. one major chain offers you a 10% 'bump' in your rebate total if you'll allow them to post the rebate amount to your rechargeable gift card. but if you're denied a $50 or greater rebate like I was. You don't earn interest by keeping the value on the card. This may seem like a lot of work. It's cheaper for them than issuing checks. CASH SECOND. and a welltimed call to a 1-800-number can often get you quick service on your rebate request. Proving this would be difficult. BUG 'EM IF THEY'RE LATE. And I wouldn't be shocked if the third party processing companies turn in 100% of the rebate requests to the retailer. They're counting on a large number of respondents simply forgetting about it. it becomes your word against theirs – and having a back-up plan can help settle the dispute in your favor. Using my photocopies. which saves the rebate company a lot of cash. It may seem trivial. The store managers have always made good on the rebate offers. Plus. use it first when making purchases at the store. and you can't turn it in for cash. but only mail out checks to a small portion of the consumers. it's good money management. Some stores use a magnetic stripe gift card to provide rebate funds. I've gone to the store manager and pointed out that I did everything I was asked to. so you're actually getting more free stuff without spending any actual cash… 10. and simply turned my photocopies in to their regional managers.within the proper timeframe. Plus. 74 The downside of rebate clubs is that your cash is tied up for 30 to 60 . So always use the credit before using real cash. USE YOUR GIFT CARD'S STORED VALUE FIRST.

You only have to do this once. Well-Hidden Drug Store Shopping Secret. and you'll be pinned to the floor with an AK47 pointed at your forehead.00 off coupons on several others.00 store coupon issued by the retailer. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all the rebates that are available. presenting a second coupon for a single item will cause the cash register to error out. Then. "Save even more with manufacturer coupons found in today's paper. I would suggest putting the purchases on a credit card. Most drug stores do NOT double coupons like the grocery stores do. I found a $2. then. You can use the rebate amount to purchase the next month's rebate items.00 off on three brand-name products! There are several things you should be aware of. deposit it and IMMEDIATELY write a check in the exact amount to your credit card company. The Most Amazing. So I could easily get a total of $8. Another secret about shopping at the big-box drug stores that you may never have heard of is the availability of multiple coupon redemption.00 off. and the stores don't like it and won't accept it. In most grocery stores. if you do it right. Sorry – there is no way around this one.days while your rebate form is being processed.00 off coupon on one brand of shampoo. good on a select manufacturer's brand of soaps and shampoos: buy any 3 and get $3. because stores in my area only double up to 50¢ – one up to 99¢ – and these coupons were all above that value. Well. The headline read. however: • No Doubling. when the rebate check arrives. Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. If you are really cash-strapped. Alarms will go off. and $1." In checking the other coupons. (No big deal here. the secret 'coupon police' in dark suits with sunglasses will come rushing in. but you get the point: double-coupon presentment is fraud.) 75 . Why is it. that some drug stores not only accept it but ENCOURAGE it? It's true! A recent flyer in my Sunday newspaper showed a $3. that may be a little bit exaggerated.

even if you don't normally shop there. And if you have teenagers in the family whose entire world revolves around hair volume.800 a year. however. bounce and shine – getting premium products makes all the difference in the world.00 on a total purchase price of $14 for three items is a bargain among bargains – you end up paying $2. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. If you visit 3 stores a month. When the drug store puts out savings like this. the items are usually priced at full retail value – so you're starting from the highest price-point possible. this one technique alone could save you over $1.• No Price Reductions. the savings are still well worth the effort of claiming them. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all of the rebates that are available.000 a year on drug store supplies! BIG IDEA 62: Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. at the same time. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store.00 per item for premium products – in this case hair care items. BIG IDEA 63: Some drug store chains will let you redeem both STORE coupons and MANUFACTURER coupons for the same item. Saving $8. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 10 BIG IDEA 61: Visit all of the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. All that said. It gives you a double-whammy of savings and often makes it possible for you to buy the super-premium brands at a price that is less than the 'bargain' no-name products! 76 .

2. Another key thing to watch is the quantity per individual item that is allowed. so this one is obvious. but the photo may show a certain flavor or packaging style of that product. minus the cost of the envelope and stamp to mail it back in. so be sure you follow them so you'll actually get the rebate check in the mail rather than a "we're sorry" notice. But instead of just giving the fine print a cursory glance. and understand it BEFORE you shop – or you could be off the rebate money. As always – there are details and conditions you have to know. you can buy up to two of any particular item – any more of that item will not count towards the ten-item minimum. the offer may require that you mail in the original coupon and not use a photocopy or printout off a rebate website. Okay. The offer may require that you send in the original cash register receipt for each of the 10 items. In this case. They may require a certain size / flavor / packaging of the product (12 oz. cans of Fizzy-Soda may not qualify if the coupon specifically requires that you buy 16 oz.) There may be a date limit to your purchase. assume that their 77 . READ THE FINE PRINT. bottles of Fizzy-Soda. LOOK AT THE PHOTO. circling each of the ten on the receipt. read it. so you can't use last week's receipt if the starting date is from this week's newspaper. Here are some of the 'secrets' of gaining the best value with a rebate. using the 'buy 10' offer as an example. The fine print may say that the offer is good on a particular brand of product. A typical example is "$5 cash back when you buy 10 of your favorites!" The ad will show a photo of the items you have to buy to get the rebate.Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT OR BRAND REBATES: Are they worth the effort? YES!!! One way that manufacturers attempt to boost the sales of their entire product line is to offer a cash back deal when you buy a certain number of their products.50 per item purchased. 1. Remember that this offer gives you back $0. Also. Unless the fine print specifically says that all sizes and flavors qualify.

10 (55¢ coupon) $1. and use coupons when purchasing as many of the 10 items as possible.39 $1. meaning you can find coupons for these items every day in numerous places.78 $0.89 each) Frozen Carrots $1.59 Yogurt in a Tube $3.50 $0. but they're not shown in the photo. The Mexican food line is also heavily couponed.39 $1.78 Quantity 2 ($0. and you can also find coupons for them from time to time.89 Can Green Beans $1. b. Here's why: a.49 $19.59 $0. The soup line is already heavily couponed.00 (50¢ coupon) $0.09 $3. Other products are listed in the fine print as qualifying for the offer.59 Baking Mix $3.29 ($0.30) $0. While the name brand canned vegetables are typically more expensive than the store brands.50 $0. See if you can guess why these items weren't shown: soup.00 ($13.50 - $2.30 ($5.00 (qty.50 $0.89 $3. kids' fruit snacks.39 $11.30 TOTAL SAVINGS $0 78 $1.39 Frozen Waffle Sticks $3.99 $1.01) $0.99 'Helper' Meal Mix $2. Here's why: Item Cost Retail Price Savings With Doubled Coupons Rebate Amount On This Item Net Cost of Item After Rebate AND Coupons Net Cost of Item After Rebate Only (No Coupons) Cereal A $3. In one example. plus they have many lower cost items like refried beans which are often priced at less than $1. the photo shows the higher-priced items – kids-size yogurt tubes. they're also on sale quite frequently.10 (55¢ coupon) ($8.49 $2.30) $0. To get the maximum value for your effort. A little detective work can often greatly increase the value you get from the rebate.59 Croissants in a Tube $1.99 $1.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.50 $0.50 $0. 2) $0.39 $0.00) .80 (40¢ coupon) $0.10 (55¢ coupon) $0. c.99 FINAL COST $24. canned vegetables and their entire line of Mexican food products.49 Biscuits in a Tube $1.89 $2.09 $2. meal helper mixes – mostly the highest-priced items in the offer.50 $0.70 (35¢ coupon) $0.08 $3. 3.intention is that you buy the one shown in the photo. yogurt drinks. your mission should be to purchase the 10 lowest-price items that will qualify for the offer.09 $1.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.00 per can.50 $1. LOOK AT WHAT'S NOT IN THE PHOTO.

$20 or $30 a month on groceries. but this one technique can generate $100 to $300 per year in savings: it's like getting your groceries FREE for 1 or 2 weeks out of the year. due to all of the paperwork you have to complete. But if you use the coupons in combination with the rebate. The manufacturers are counting on you NOT to make the effort. you'll save over 45% on the same groceries! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 11 BIG IDEA 64: There’s no doubt about it: mail-in rebates are a real pain in the neck. you can save an extra $10. It doesn't sound like much.As you can see. the rebate was a good deal to begin with – by itself it saved you almost 26% on the groceries. But if you DO make the effort. 79 .

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The Jones family earns a salary of $36. or a total of $21. Learning how to control your margin can make a huge difference in how well your family lives. spices.500 per year after taxes. – items they use each and every day. Assuming that the Jones family eats every breakfast and dinner at home. Restaurants must maintain their budgets and a high level of profit margin. and 'brown bags' their lunches. Your home budget has a MARGIN as well.43 per day on meals. This margin of profitability determines how much PROFIT the restaurant will make at the end of the day. (Note that this is DIFFERENT from the FEATURED ingredients or SPECIALTY items). This is the primary reason that chefs look for the lowest-cost provider of the CORE ingredients they use in their restaurant. let's look at a fictitious family. For an example. 81 . they can spend a total of $150 per week at the grocery store. This gives them a total spending allotment of $600 per month. etc. for an even average take-home amount of $100 per day. dairy products. if they are to remain viable and profitable.Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Grocery Selections = Operating Margin In the restaurant business – as in any business – the difference between the COST OF THE INGREDIENTS and the SALE PRICE of the prepared food item is called the MARGIN. Here's how this $100 per day is spent: Mortgage: 35% Utilities: 10% Home Maintenance: 5% Insurance / Health Care: 10% Clothing / Personal: 10% Auto: 5% Savings / Retirement: 5% Food / Entertainment: 20% TOTAL: 100% This family's budget for food and entertainment is $20 per day. We're talking about flour.

month after month. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin.The MARGIN for the Jones family is whether they can actually feed their family on $21. the area that must give way is the owner's paycheck.43 per day. the family budget will fail and the family will eventually declare bankruptcy or lean on parents or other relatives to bail them out financially. or reduce in one of the other areas. reduce or eliminate their savings. So let's take a look at smart choices you can make to get the absolute most out of your grocery dollar. if the food expenditure exceeds the budgeted 20%. the MARGIN determines whether the establishment will show a profit at the end of the month or not. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within or below your budgetary margin consistently. If the family's total expenditure consistently outstrips their income. or whether they will need to take money away from the other budgeted items to meet their grocery bill. Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates their kitchen: as a business. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. cancel their insurance. the owner doesn't get a paycheck. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. month after month. the business will fail. At a restaurant. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within – or below – your budgetary margin consistently. the family must do without new clothing. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 12 BIG IDEA 65: Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates his or her kitchen: as a business. and why the choices you make at the grocery store CAN and WILL impact all areas of your family's life. 82 . At the Jones household. Often. If the restaurant doesn't show a profit. If the restaurant consistently fails to create a margin of profit. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. This is why it is important to stretch your family budget as much as possible.

Most of us are lucky to find a halfhour to ourselves every other day. If you typically buy a small jar of peanut butter every two weeks. you know. and put a plan in place. but by selecting the smallest package you are probably paying more per ounce than if you bought the bigger package. let alone tackle a return to an allnatural lifestyle. some eggs. That approach simply doesn't work if you have a fulltime job. Many writers have covered that territory. a social life. You may be in the habit of buying the smallest item because you want the least-expensive item. If you want to change your diet. get some professional advice. This same rule of thumb applies to hundreds of everyday grocery items. I'm not a doctor. What I hope to do here is give you some ideas on how to enjoy the foods you want to eat. consider buying the big jar every 4 weeks. Most of us need or justifiably want the conveniences of prepared foods to reduce our time in the kitchen. and/or kids in school. Get larger sizes of items. There are three major ways to cut your grocery bill. as long as you and your family can consume them before they expire or lose their freshness. let's leave it at that. They are: • BUY BIG. go see your doctor. totally apart from using coupons or obtaining store discounts. It doesn't fit too well with modern life. telling you that you only need to buy a sack of flour. 83 . milk and a few ingredients and grow everything else in your backyard. household supplies and personal care items. Mom needs a break too. The big jar typically contains twice as much. while paying less for them. That's nice if your cup of tea is cooking everything from scratch and tending a garden for two or three hours a day. I don't advocate going 'back to your roots' and only buying raw materials. that's fine. That's all. and frankly I don't care what foods you choose to buy or eat. Another thing I'm not advocating is a change in your diet. but only costs about 40% to 50% more.Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Let me start by saying that I'm not preaching here.

00. There is a middle ground between buying a prepared baking mixture and growing your own wheat. Buy the core ingredients of recipes. Stock up when items are on sale. Grits. even if you won't need them for six months or a year. stock up & save. bag of food is an appetizer…) That's not too bad. plus chopped broccoli. rather than preassembled mixtures of core ingredients.• MAKE TIMELY BUYS. pork. 84 . rice and sauce. if it's available now at half the cost or below. Let's use a frozen all-in-one dinner mix as an example. Put two or three of the item on your back shelf. A bag of this mixture probably costs about $5. A frozen dinner mixture may contain bite-size nuggets of chicken. as long as the items are not highly perishable or they have a fairly decent shelf life. when you consider the cost of eating the same type of meal at a restaurant. But it's not the best you can do price-wise. beef. Find the logical middle ground that works for you and your schedule. • Alternative Core Ingredients: Tofu. you may not use any of the following core ingredients in your food selections. As long as you will eventually consume the item. Again. and will sort of feed the average four-person family adequately. Sweet Potatoes. invest in additional units of items when they are at their lowest cost. Bulgar Wheat. But buy the primary ingredients of recipes rather than the put-together final products. How? Let's look at the core ingredients. Currently. and cooking the same meal from scratch could cost you less than half this much. etc. Select according to your taste & dietary preferences. but for most families they are already a core part of their diet – often without consciously selecting them: • Potatoes • Onions • Carrots • Tomatoes • Mixed Vegetables – Seasonal • Rice • Pasta • Meats: chicken. • BUY BASIC.00 to $6. (unless you have teenagers and a 5 lb.

am I saying that ALL pre-mixed dinners or boxes of pre-cooked side dishes are bad? NO – of course not! The food companies are not bad people.Various spices in minute amounts .1/4 cup of soy sauce . So overall. isn't it? PERISH THE THOUGHT! Dinnertime should be about enjoying your food.The pre-blended mixture contains roughly the following ingredients: . cooked and frozen a long time ago. Are All Mixes Bad? Of Course Not! Now. except there's usually not as much chicken as you would like. because it was chopped. .Two or three cups of chopped.One to one and a half chicken breasts cut in pieces. the fresh vegetables can actually be higher. savoring the taste. The broccoli and carrots are kind of mushy.One or two cooked carrots. color and smell of a fresh-cooked meal – that's the difference between simply eating and eating well. But in combination with all of the other elements that go into a meal. doesn't it? You dump the contents of the bag into a saucepan. The vast majority of these pre-mixed food items are very high in quality. and they're not idiots. In some cases. and that's what dinnertime is all about. sliced . had to mention this…) Sounds like a lot. starting from core ingredients will almost always be less expensive. it's an okay meal.One or two garlic cloves. cooked broccoli . The quality of the food is reasonably acceptable. and it's ready to serve. It's sustenance. And. but nothing to rave about. chopped . because they were cooked a few months ago and frozen.Various preservatives and chemicals (sorry. The cost difference between frozen / boxed / dehydrated vegetables and fresh vegetables is not always huge. the garlic isn't really zingy. and you can save a lot of time and effort by using them. But just be aware that you are paying a price for this convenience. either.Two or three cups of cooked rice . 85 . cook on low for about 10 minutes.

IF you were starting from scratch. resulting in better quality for less money. But for everyone / everything else. when you buy pre-mixed / preseasoned / prepared meals. WHICH you wouldn't ever do. and they can save you a lot of time. buying small makes sense. Pre-packaged meals can cost up to 5 times as much as the same meal prepared from scratch. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 13 BIG IDEA 66: By using core ingredients to prepare your family's meals.Variety – and Pre-Mixed Foods – Can Be A GOOD Thing! Some pre-mixed or prepared foods allow you to enjoy items you would rarely cook from scratch – if ever. Stock up on them when the pricing is right. and you can easily cut your food costs in HALF. All I'm suggesting here is that you buy them when they're on sale. But with a box of ready-to-go stuffing mix. the bigger the package. 86 . the more you will lower your cost of food. And in many cases. and you have a coupon for them. Develop a set of time-saving recipes that use core ingredients. Just remember this: in most cases. or you eat like a church mouse. So no – it's NOT bad stuff. If you are cooking for one. the smaller the package – the greater the cost per ounce / pound. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. or the items you buy are very perishable. the lower the cost per serving. BIG IDEA 67: Generally speaking. you can go back to the core ingredients and replicate these mixes with fresh ingredients. For example. would you make fresh stuffing if you had to start with the bread and spices and mix it all yourself? Probably not. many. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. it's made of bread and spices. many of these pre-mixed food products are very good. Is it bad stuff? Well. it's actually pretty darned good stuff! The moral of this story: many. so they'll be on hand when you need them. you can have fresh stuffing in about 5 or 10 minutes. you can reduce your total cost of food. so it's just about the same thing YOU would make.

grab 2 or 3 and stash them away for future use. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. the more you will lower your cost of food. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. If it's a non-perishable item. grab it.BIG IDEA 68: When you see a bargain. 87 . but you'll be saving a lot of cash down the road. BIG IDEA 69: Whenever you buy pre-mixed / pre-seasoned / prepared meals. You'll be investing a little cash now.

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there are exceptions to every rule. Cook it until tender. It's hard to top perfection. and delicious. many Chinese and Japanese dishes revolve around rice. scan down the menu and count the dishes that are based on one core ingredient. Many Italian dishes revolve around pasta. Of course. many Irish dishes revolve around potatoes. Cook them. Granted. simple is best: the basic flavor of the core ingredients is pure. A few minor enhancements can do wonders. they're tremendous in a million different ways. It rarely needs any improvement. you might add a little butter or tiny touch of brown sugar. Don't get me started. sauté them – you can do a 1. and it's wonderful on the palate. But the next time you are in your favorite restaurant. Example: a tomato. Add a touch of seasoning and they're on just about everyone's top-10 list. A little enhancement can make a world of difference. You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest.001 things with a potato. many middleeastern dishes revolve around grains. but deep down basic food is pretty darn good to begin with! Example: a carrot. Yes. whip them. Tomatoes are so flavorpacked. very simple. Real Cooking Let me be frank here: cooking is actually very. of course. fry them. but overall it's incredibly packed with flavor – right out of the ground. You will be amazed at how simple the vast majority of dishes really are. some dishes are more elaborate and require multiple base items. Example: a potato. and then count the dishes that have multiple core ingredients. With the majority of foods. The greatest chefs in the world all cook the same way: they start with a core ingredient at the base and then they add something to it to make it unique. 89 . They are wonderfully complex yet simple at the same time. and many Indian and southern Asian dishes revolve around a vegetable base.Chapter 14: Real Food. simple. but you can't improve on the pure nutrition that is built into the spud.

THIS IS BRAINWASHING. If you can change your mindset about core ingredients and what it MEANS to cook.Okay. In reality. and the end results are always perfect. Microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes. Add a few scoops of canned chunky chili. To make my point. Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. etc. Serve with your choice of toppings (cheese. Serve with salsa. We're all too busy these days to even think about cooking. If people knew how easy it is to cook from scratch – at a fraction of the price of buying their prepackaged meals – they wouldn't make as much money. too. too!) They always show how the preparation takes just a minute or two. (And by the way. BUYING THEIR MIX = SIMPLICITY and COMFORT. I want to change the way you think about cooking. you'll discover that it simply doesn’t have to be that difficult. why is it always the WIFE? We husbands cook. Poke holes in it with a fork. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. and the family goes wild with glee at the wonderful taste and nutrition. Shake some sea salt on the outside. let alone crack open the recipe book. if you approach it correctly. sour cream or plain yogurt. Top with cheese (I like mozzarella on mine). I have to use premade mixes. you have a valid point. The food industry WANTS you to think that cooking is difficult. Take a potato. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. PEOPLE! They are conditioning you to think that COOKING = HARD WORK and PAIN. butter or butter substitute. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. I know you're thinking: "I'm too busy to cook.) 2. Think of how many commercials you've seen where the wife heats up a ready-to-eat dish of pre-mixed stuff. 90 . I don't have time to cook". Take a taco shell out of the package. bacon bits. And yes. BAKED POTATO. TACOS. cooking from scratch (or at least using a few core ingredients) can be JUST AS EASY. Wash it off. here are five dinners you can cook in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES (and actually less than 1 minute if you're fast…) 1. so you'll buy their pre-cooked meals.

You'll get new ones every week by email if you subscribe to my membership site located at www. bowties. they're the little "6 for $1" packages of noodles. Sure. but you only have to stir them once in a while. whatever. It's quick – it's tasty – and you'll think you ordered take out. 5. exciting cooking is to vary the sauces. As I mentioned above. RAMEN NOODLES. There are hundreds of these types of recipes out there. (For convenience. and you've got a spicy oriental soup that makes a very enjoyable dinner. so it's very cheap as well. If you're constantly stretched for time.) Sauté these with a little hot pepper oil until tender. it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook. One bag will make about 5 or 6 dinners. cook a pot of rice on Sunday and keep it in the fridge all week long. seasonings and styles of the additional items you add to your core ingredients. You could also sauté some meat or seafood if you'd like. RICE WITH VEGGIES. toss in the noodles. elbow. add a little water. then toss on top of the rice and add a little soy sauce. drain. and they're ready in 3 minutes. The secret to innovative.us. maybe some squash and carrots. You know what these are. you can sauté these in a frying pan with a little hot pepper oil while the noodles are cooking. it will be good as new. Feel free to share your favorites with friends. chop up a tomato. When you need to make a quick lunch or dinner. you can also buy a bag of frozen veggies and use just a tiny portion. add some pepper and salt. most restaurant menu items are just a core ingredient with enhancements. You heat 2 cups of water until boiling. and chop in a few chunks of butter (or butter substitute if you're watching your cholesterol. My kids love this one: boil up a box of noodles – any kind – such as ziti. and add that.3. So vary your enhancements. To top it. BUT – if you buy a bag of frozen Chinese vegetables and a bag of pre-cooked peeled shrimp. Toss them into the finished soup. and it's very tasty. put 2 cups of the rice in a pot. put into a bowl. and you've got a quick cheesy meal. 4. It's fast. ALFREDO A LA QUICKIE. 91 . When they're done. and heat on low for 5 minutes.grocerysavings.) Shake some powdered parmesan or romano cheese on top. Not too exciting.

you'll be saving LOTS of money. so you'll buy their over-priced pre-mixed dinners. BIG IDEA 73: Cooking fast & delicious meals for yourself and your family should not be a chore. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. BIG IDEA 72: Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. easy-to-cook recipes that use CORE INGREDIENTS and that your family enjoys.experiment. you're doing it wrong! Do it right. too. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. Plus. If you start building a list of quick. you can cut your food costs in half. If it is. if you approach it correctly. try new things. But first – you have to become an expert at cooking the core ingredients. It's hard to top perfection. BIG IDEA 71: The food industry wants to DISCOURAGE you from cooking. and you'll keep your menu vibrant and inviting. healthier food every day. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 14 BIG IDEA 70: You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. 92 . and you'll eat better.

easy to remember. Investing in a few basic items could really make your life easier. nutritious dinner. If you're cooking-challenged. Get familiar with cooking core ingredients from scratch. Once you've got your own system down. you can make Italian food with your hands tied. We are so lucky today to have time-saving appliances available for every conceivable kitchen task. the rest – pun fully intended – is gravy. • If you can learn to make rice.) • If you can learn to boil noodles. the rest of the cooking process is a breeze. So if you want to take control of your food budget and really cut your dependency on packaged meals. cook 'em a few minutes more. Set your timer to 10 minutes. Stir it once in a while. This doesn't have to be expensive. the local pharmacy sells appliances now. They can save you huge amounts of time in the kitchen. you can add countless varieties of toppings for a healthy. GOOD APPLIANCES CAN HELP. I would suggest that you take an inventory of your appliances. One cup of rice.Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings How to Develop a System for Cooking Core Ingredients. If you can really get the hang of cooking core ingredients. If they're still too hard at 10 minutes. (HINT: boil a pot of water. this chapter will be critical to your success in weaning yourself from pre-packaged meals. (HINT: nature made this recipe easy. It's always double the water for a single unit of rice. and many just about do all the work for you. (Have you seen those 'potato martinis' they serve in the fanciest restaurants? They're nothing more than mashed potatoes topped with sautéed meats and vegetables. you've got the basic foundation for about half a gazillion Chinese recipes. What a novel idea!) Once you determine how best to cook your core ingredients.) • If you can peel & boil potatoes. 93 . and they frequently give $5 and $10 rebates for buying them. the rest is a cakewalk. Easy. Heck. two cups of water.

plug it in. And the bowl. RICE COOKER. You don't need to watch it. blades & cover all go right into the dishwasher. They shouldn't – because a pressure cooker can cut your cooking time by 50% or more – and they lock all the nutrients into your food. these scare the daylights out of most people. For some reason. kids just love rice. Plus. a pressure cooker can make even the cheapest cuts of meat tender. Buy a huge bag. Now. water and salt / pepper in the pot. especially if you’ve got small kids to tend to. stir it or tend to it in any way. Plus. and in 15 minutes or so your rice is done perfectly. some of you nutritional purists will shudder at some of these suggestions. once the pressure weight is rocking cook it for 20 minutes.) They make excellent chicken soup (put a chicken. A good processor will cut your cooking time by half. turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. those of us on the front-line of the family-feeding war need all the help we can get.Listed below are some items that I couldn't live without. The same thing goes for carrots. and they'll love you back all the more. vegetables. They're great for stews (cook for 15 minutes. cut it into 4 pieces and drop it in the processor. cool for 30 minutes. and it's chopped in about 5 seconds. PRESSURE COOKER. and if the family won't eat what we cook – what good is it? So cook what your family loves. It will make an ordinary meal extraordinary. You dump your ingredients in. They’re also ideal for grating hard cheeses. FOOD PROCESSOR (or mini-processor if you're single or you've got a small family). Peel an onion. and your meat will fall off the fork. so there's not a lot of clean-up. squash – basically any hard vegetable. But hey. And as a bonus – rice is still very reasonably priced. And let me share a secret that every fine Italian cook will tell you: buy a block of hard cheese and grate it in your mini-processor just before serving over your pasta. It will be the best chicken soup 94 . and save. press the "chop" button. It’s the ideal cooking helper. One of the easiest things to cook is rice – and one of the best time-savers is to get a rice cooker. garlic. scallions. It's our job to keep the family happy.

what do you order when you're in a restaurant? Being able to cook restaurant-quality fried foods in your household can significantly reduce your food budget. Yes. Mix up some tempura batter. it makes them look more appetizing and more like oven-baked chops. top with bread crumbs. try pressure-cooking in your household and you'll be a convert for life. turn up the heat. They'll be fully-cooked. Close the pressure cooker. Make a pot of Japanese noodles – soba noodles are available in many import shops. Serve over the soba noodles and soup and you've got a dynamic Japanese meal that the family will love.) Get over the fear. Now. But what do the kids order every time you're in a restaurant? Heck. it's a nutritional crime. and deep fry the veggies and shrimp in the fryer. It's really a great appliance. The only difference: you've saved at least an hour of cooking time! They're ideal for cutting the time required to cook vegetables (cooks in 1 to 5 minutes after the pressure weight starts rocking. Just sear your chops in the pressure cooker in a little oil (adding garlic. I can take a basic potato – probably costing about 25 cents or less – and create restaurant-quality fries in about 10 minutes. if you want to reduce the amount of fried foods you serve but still add the flavor and appeal of fried foods to your menu. Cool the cooker immediately and remove the chops. and cook for about 10 minutes once the weight starts rocking. salt & pepper for flavor) for about 3 minutes on each side. try this. Plus. tender and ready-to-eat. Chop up some vegetables – broccoli. Heat up some chicken broth for the soup. I like to remove them. It's not THAT bad for you from time to time… I bought a family-sized fryer at the drug store for $20 after rebate. 95 .you've ever had. You just have to get over the 'guilt' factor and admit that most people love fried foods. I know people want to live "healthy" and avoid fried foods. and brown in the broiler for about 3 minutes. carrots – and get some fresh peeled shrimp. and your veggies are ready to serve. Yes. DEEP FRYER. But admit your vice and face your fears. cool the cooker immediately with cold water.) They can cut an hour or more out of the cooking time required for meats such as pork chops. Add 3/4 cup water. cauliflower.

Cut into 8 squares and flip each square and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Grate 3 or 4 potatoes in your food processor (SO much easier than grating by hand. it will help you switch to a "fresh cooked" diet rather than a "frozen / reheated" diet – which can save you big bucks on your groceries. Spread the mixture all across your griddle and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Oil your griddle lightly. Total cost for 8 servings: about 15¢ a serving. Plus. is to make pancakes. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 15 BIG IDEA 74: Adding a few inexpensive appliances to your kitchen will make cooking easier. One of my favorites is hash brown potatoes. 96 . This appliance is indispensable in my household. But it’s also ideal for dozens of other recipes as well.you've minimized the amount of fried foods you're serving. You see? A deep fryer is NOT the evil device you thought it was…! ELECTRIC GRIDDLE. The #1 use. of course. hearty breakfast or side dish. The result is a flavorful. and you don’t skin your knuckles. The frozen hash browns in your grocer’s freezer will cost about 3 times that amount. and the taste won’t even come close to that of the home-made recipe. Mix it all together with salt & pepper. cheaper – and more nutritious for your family.) Grate an onion as well.

Now.There's no time to cook. Healthier Meals Why do so few people cook fresh meals? Do you give any credibility to these common myths: .I hate to cook. The reward will be meals that can be much tastier and probably a lot healthier for you and your family. Then. Again. The moral of this story is this: you're already devoting a certain amount of time to meal preparation. the recipes you use (or don't use). I'm pretty sure you can find the five minutes! You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time it takes to heat up a pre-mixed meal.Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. heat the glop and dish it up. .My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. add the glop. didn't you? Consider that you could buy a variety of core ingredients – many of which are also found in the freezer section – with just a few extra minutes of shopping time.I'm too busy to shop. For everyone else. . see if somewhere in your busy day you could find just 5 minutes to steal and re-apply to meal preparation. you're going to find enough time to get out a pan. you'll probably find 20 or 30 minutes to eat the meal. and the way you prepare your meals. – I'm too busy to shop. consider the alternative answers. and you 97 . Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. If your schedule is SO TIGHT that you absolutely could not find 5 minutes anywhere – and your life is literally on a stopwatch every minute of the day – you probably have a personal shopper and a personal chef. Consider some minor alterations to the ingredients you buy. – There's no time to cook. Plus. . You had enough time to buy the bag of premade stuff.

and if you do it right it won't take you a lot of extra time. you CAN learn to cook quick fast. add a few pennies worth of spices. which is nothing more than a filler and it's aptly named. They eat what they're given. though. The reason many families are oblivious to the taste or quality of their food is that they've never experienced real cooking. You might be surprised on this one. in this case). enjoy better meals. simple meals that your family will love. Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. in the interest of saving time. A lot of people choose DUMPING over COOKING.can save time. and enjoy it a whole lot more. and lower your food costs. because it's all that they know. Take it one step at a time. Don't you think that might be healthier than a ton of food starch and preservatives? YES! Do you think you might feel better by eating allnatural ingredients? YES! The proof is in the pudding (or pasta. To avoid cooking. and make a much more satisfying and healthy meal. many people simply DUMP bags or cans of glop into saucepans and heat it up. Your family WILL notice the difference and chances are they'll thank you for the improvement. with almost no additional 98 . and even the most die-hard mageirocophobiac (person with an intense fear of cooking) can become an efficient quick cooking expert and save money on food with a little patience. – My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. People eat bottled spaghetti sauce over pasta. – I hate to cook. Look at the ingredients of the sauce: it's full of modified food starch. What if you could just dump DIFFERENT bags or cans of stuff into the same pot. because it's what they've always eaten. I call this QUICK COOKING. they don't expect anything better. even if you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. The one and only ingredient in the can of tomatoes is TOMATOES. It FILLS you up but is it good for you? You can buy a can of crushed tomatoes for less than the can of prepared sauce. This is a valid concern if you view cooking as a chore – which many people do. It will make your meals extra special. But I'd like to propose an alternative to cooking.

poultry and fish Baking Mix Homemade sauces & gravies Fresh tortillas. in the case of packaged foods).dry Potatoes .canned Fresh broccoli. prepared meals with tiny portions Pre-baked biscuits. cheese. You end up taking the same basic steps you do now: open a can. frozen Prepared spaghetti sauce Frozen or canned vegetables Tiny amounts of chicken found in prepared dinners Canned noodle dinners or pasta mix meals Tiny packets of partially-cooked dried oatmeal Baked loaves of bread Frozen. whatever you choose to cook.fresh potato wedges.large drum.uncooked Oatmeal . carrots. The chef (or food manager. rip open a bag. a vegan or a Venutian. LOW-COST CORE INGREDIENT Rice . beans. uncooked Bread flour Fresh meats. frozen waffles Cans or jars of sauce. skinless chicken breasts Pasta . starts with a core ingredient or multiple core ingredients. Here are some of the core ingredients that you can buy at the source as fresh ingredients. delicious recipes. and how you're doing it. and the high-priced alternatives they replace. dry potato flakes. canned beans "Closeout" fresh vegetables (items that the store must sell today or throw away) HIGH-PRICED PREPARED ITEM Pre-cooked rice in frozen dinners Frozen French fries. For the sake of this discussion.investment of your time. Insider Secret: You're Already Buying Core Ingredients – But Not At Their Source! As previously mentioned. etc. pull out a pan. you can follow these tips and start cooking and eating better and cheaper. You're just being more selective in what you're putting into the pan. With just a few minutes of planning. turn on the stove. you can make TREMENDOUS changes in the cost of your meals as well as your family's satisfaction with them. etc. it doesn't matter if you're a meat-eater or a vegetarian. how do we handle this "QUICK COOKING" without a lot of work and clean up? Let's look at a few core meal ingredients and how you can use them to create dozens of exciting. Okay. Tomatoes . frozen or tube biscuit dough. any fresh vegetable Boneless. To these they add a variety of topping or add-ins to create the final meal that you eat. or packets of dry gravy mix Frozen Mexican food dinners Vegetable soup in the can 99 . most cuisines – from the most basic to the most exotic – are variations on a theme.

having them accessible. train yourself to select CORE INGREDIENTS rather than pre-mixed meals. (more about this later). BIG IDEA 76: You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time as heating up a pre-mixed meal. with no time to cook and no time to shop – is in three key steps: • AVAILABILITY of economical core ingredients. Determine what you have to work with first (i. and you will save tremendous amounts of money. seasonings and styles that are appropriate for your family's eating habits. b. and you can save time – enjoy better meals – and lower your food costs. BIG IDEA 77: Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. and serve nutritious meals your family will actually eat. let's look at: a. • TECHNIQUE to quickly prepare and cook your meals using some core sauces.e. store. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. what's cheapest / freshest). The best way for YOU to cook. Think of food ingredients the way the chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. The way you plan your menus. To get a handle on how remarkably simple these three steps can be. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking.The secret to feeding your family well – with tasty and enticing food on a bargain-basement budget. • FLEXIBILITY to mix and match the ingredients that you can buy economically. c. The way you buy these items. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 16 BIG IDEA 75: Regardless of how little or how much time you have to shop. even if 100 .

then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. Determine what you have to work with first (i. what's cheapest / freshest). with almost no additional investment of your time. simple meals that your family will love. you CAN learn to quick fast. BIG IDEA 79: Think of food ingredients the way the fine chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals.e. BIG IDEA 78: "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. 101 .you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult.

102 .

Great chefs plan their menu when they go to the market. Do you know how the world's greatest chefs decide their menus? Ask any chef what they will be cooking tonight. Nature came up with a very easy 103 . Nutritious Meals With Your Core Items Let's review how a variety of core ingredients can be prepared. Think of your own dining experiences. Surely. But that doesn't mean people will pay. The fastest way is with a pressure cooker or a rice cooker.Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus How to choose value ingredients to make luxury meals. then enhanced with additional ingredients to create unique meals. When an item is in abundance. You may wonder why the chefs use this method. technically they can. It may be the farmer's market. it's often because the item is in season – and hence is very fresh and is available in large quantities. RICE Rice can be made from 'scratch' very easily. If the chef 's special sounds appealing and it costs a few dollars less than the other items. because they are being harvested now – not six months ago. which do you think will taste better? CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. they can charge whatever they'd like for the items in the restaurant? Well. and they'll tell you that it depends on what is in season. That's because those items are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. don't you sometimes choose the special? Another reason to choose the chef 's special is abundance. If flounder is in abundance at the fish market and the price is lower than that of the other fish. tonight's special will be flounder. If shrimp is on sale. How to Cook Delicious. the fresh seafood market. tonight's special will be shrimp. or the wholesale meat market. If the flounder is fresh and the other choices start out frozen.

try freezing your rice in small plastic containers. consider making a large pot of rice on Monday and using it in your recipes throughout the week. See? Cooking can be easy and fun! OATMEAL Oatmeal has the same simple recipe. chicken bouillon. If your meals are more infrequent. and be ready to reheat them quickly for individual meals. Some simple ideas are to add pre-cooked chicken. Just store the leftover rice in a plastic storage bowl. Sounds pretty easy. nothing could be simpler. barbecue sauce or any other ingredients you like. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. then add your other ingredients. Try it. huh? You may want to add a dash of sea salt. Recipes. just add a little water. cover and heat. i. To reheat. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. Worcestershire sauce.) Oatmeal is one of the only foods that actually cooks better in a microwave than it does on the stove. sashimi (imitation crab). For fried rice. and vegetables. 2 parts water (or milk. you'll be amazed at how smooth and creamy it comes out! For one serving. There are countless ways to make tasty meals with rice. soy sauce. add to the rice mixture and flip after a minute or so. Let it steam for a few minutes. but it's usually best just to cook plain white rice. then stir and cover with a plate to prevent splashing.e. simply heat some oil in a frying pan then add your rice and cook until slightly browned. Microwave for about 3 minutes. you travel a lot and can't leave fresh food in the refrigerator. For egg fu yung. Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. straight from nature: 1 part oatmeal. For families on the go. mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup of water or milk. Add a splash of teriyaki. saffron or other spices. 2 parts water. if you like it richer. 104 . Continue microwaving for 1 minute at a time until done. lightly beat one or two eggs in a bowl (but not so much that bubbles form). You can 'nuke' rice back to health in your microwave.recipe for rice: 1 part rice. beef. in a matter of minutes.

Families existed on potatoes during the potato famine in Ireland. full of fiber. To prepare a base supply of potatoes early in the week. Add cheese. If you're careful about what you put on them. Lunch: Poke some holes in an unpeeled potato and microwave it for about 5 minutes. microwave or fry potatoes in many different ways.00 or $2. Potatoes are an excellent addition to a hearty breakfast. to make a tasty meal. These additives have 105 . Here are a few ideas. Or. They're fat free. just peel and boil your potatoes until fully cooked. and you've got a delicious baked potato that can serve as your main course. of course…). Add a little cheese. by meal: Breakfast: Chop your cooked potatoes and fry them in butter to make tasty hash browns. most nutritious foods in the grocery store. Use them as a 'base' with stew or sautéed veggies on top. cooked broccoli. chopped scallions. etc. Recipes: Again. so only cook what you can use fairly soon. the possibilities for using potatoes in recipes are endless. bake. and tasty. Top with chili and cheese or canned meat to make a filling quick meal. etc. they can be a healthy choice too. I suggest using the imitation butter spray and / or powdered and flavored 'butter buds' that are available today.. sour cream. Dinner: Serve them baked. You can boil. especially at the start of a strenuous work day where you'll need extra energy. store then in a plastic storage bowl until you need them. mashed. hot sauce. bag. bacon bits. consult a recipe book and you'll be amazed at the uses for potatoes. The thing to bear in mind is that you can often find potatoes on sale for $2. slice your potatoes and fry in butter to make home fries. That works out to about 25 cents per potato – one of the cheapest. etc. boiled & quartered with butter or chicken broth. and they learned many different recipes to add variety..50 for a 5-lb. Again. for variety. They'll only keep for a few days.POTATOES There are countless ways to cook with potatoes. just get a good cookbook (at a yard sale or thrift store. Then.

Slice them and add to a ham or turkey sandwich. cans of tomatoes are typically a lot cheaper 106 . I like to sauté a little chopped garlic in olive oil. In the summer. Plus. Chop them up and add them to an omelet or just eat a raw tomato with a little salt. You're eliminating all of the additives. The Irish knew this centuries ago. But for busy people they can be an excellent. fried green tomatoes are also a delicacy. They're easy to grow and relatively cheap to buy – especially the canned variety. add the tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. starches and fillers that are common in the jars of sauce that most people use. more food volume. Recipes: Get a cookbook to see any of the thousands of possibilities for tomatoes. Yes. Here are a few of my favorites: Breakfast. Try a home-made Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich (BLT). Dinner: One of the easiest and fastest ways to make spaghetti sauce is to use a can of chopped or whole tomatoes. and many ethnic foods from around the world. fast alternative to fresh tomatoes – especially when you don't have time to shop. and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. or you're frequently on the road and fresh tomatoes just go bad on the shelf. Pour on top of cooked pasta and you have a great Italian dish. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. I know – you purists are saying you'd never eat a tomato out of a can. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet.almost no fat or calories. vegetarian cooking. Ever had a sliced tomato on the plate with your bacon & eggs? They're delicious anyway but you can add either salt or sugar for even more flavor. and can make a baked potato seem almost decadent even as this filling and flavorful meal actually helps you lose weight! A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. TOMATOES Why single out tomatoes as an ingredient? I'm also singling them out because they're the staple ingredient in Italian cooking. In the south. nothing is better than a fresh-picked tomato! Lunch.

Here are some tips to win over the anti-veggie contingent in your household: 107 . and the sooner you cook the tomato after picking from the vine. beets. Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that are not currently in massproduction. You can make hundreds of recipes using tomatoes as your base. You'll have perfectly steamed fresh broccoli that I GUARANTEE you will taste ten times better than the frozen stuff. and you'll probably pay less. They’re one of nature’s best sources of lycopene.than the jars of sauce. VEGETABLES Fresh veggies are probably the healthiest. To quote Rodney Dangerfield. and your family will begin to eat healthier. put it in a glass or Pyrex dish. add a little water. the more taste it will have. potatoes. I find that the less you cook tomatoes the better. put the dish in a microwave. a powerful antioxidant that may help your body’s natural defenses prevent cancer. buy them. They're also probably one of the most misunderstood of foods. heart disease. The total time expenditure is about the same but buy the broccoli on sale. fast cook as described above. And guess what: this same approach works for asparagus. Another tip: if you’re ever at a farmer’s market and you find heirloom tomatoes. then cook on high for about 4 or 5 minutes. and enjoy meals more. unique taste and nutrients. the lighter the seasoning the better. cover with plastic wrap. tastiest items you can buy in a store. There are hundreds if not thousands of varieties of tomatoes available. and many of these small-batch tomatoes – while not commercially feasible to grow – are loaded in flavor. strap a rubber band around the dish. feel better. So many people would rather rip open a bag of frozen broccoli than deal with stalks of fresh broccoli – presumably because they 'want to save time'. carrots. almost every vegetable out there… Buy whatever veggies are on sale. and other serious diseases. Do you know the easiest way to cook fresh broccoli? Wash it off. "Man – who don't like spaghetti?" Tomatoes are packed with tons of nutrients and they have great natural flavor.

. . you really don't have to add a lot more for most dishes). • Use plain yogurt and butter spray on baked potatoes. especially when they're 3/$1. If you're a bacon lover. You won't be weighed down with all of the fat of sour cream and butter but the potato will taste great. Okay.Wash / peel / chop the veggies. The recipe is extremely simple: . Mother Nature put an immense amount of flavor and subtle tastes into veggies to begin with.Tip 3: Look for coupons for the spices in your Sunday paper. Normally. 108 . as are the chocolate and rainbow ice-cream sprinkles.• Spray some fat-free butter on the veggies before you nuke them. If you don't like this. (Yes. as appropriate. but this will add useless calories and fat – especially the bad 'trans fats' – with little taste benefit. you can always use regular butter or margarine.Put into a big pot. the bacon bits are a bargain. (Hint: less is more when it comes to spicing up a veggie dish. back to veggies… • Buy close-out veggies when they are available at your store and make a healthy soup or stew out of them. they're only 99¢ at the drug store. nuke them in a small dish with a little water. but if you have kids you know that they go absolutely crazy for them and they're a big hit at birthday parties). This is the 'zero calorie' spray that you find in the butter section. Of course. . with some water and simple spices. buy some of the dried bacon bits to sprinkle on as well. One major national drug store chain frequently issues coupons for spices at 3/$1.Tip 2: look for these in the discount spice rack at your neighborhood drug store. While most of their spices are about 95% salt. .Tip 1: if the bacon bits are too hard on your teeth. whereas the name-brand items can be $2-$3 at the grocery store. try them on veggies and you will be pleasantly surprised. try the powdered butter substitute found in the spice section of your grocery. I know the sprinkles are 100% refined sugar. Even if you've avoided these low-fat products because they don't taste as good or work as well as butter on sandwiches or toast.

Also. The meat can cook along with the veggies (allow extra time). consider making a big pot of soup or stew and serving it all week long. You can freeze soup in leftover plastic containers from yogurt. • For a cream sauce. and taste just as good – and sometimes better – than the first time around. sour cream or plain yogurt near the end of the cooking cycle.) • For meat dishes. If you happen to find a LOT of veggies on sale. Frozen soup or stew will keep for months. mix a little flour or corn starch with water in a cup. A good recipe is to sauté some onions in butter until soft. drizzle the mixture into the broth very slowly and keep stirring or the flour mixture can still turn into dough. pork or lamb. it just looks better when it's pre-seared. sour cream. it's advisable to pre-sear the meat in a little olive or vegetable oil first. add fresh or canned tomatoes prior to cooking. SLOWLY add 109 . or it will turn to lumps and clumps of dough and powder. margarine. The best time to do this is before you cook the food. add a little milk. Of course. If you have a breadmaker machine and make a loaf of homemade bread for about 50¢. To thicken. and stir the mixture into the broth slowly.. etc.Cook for about a half hour (or about 5 minutes if using a pressure cooker.Serve and enjoy. (Hint: do not add the flour directly to the mix. Be sure all of the flour is dissolved into solution BEFORE you add the mixture to the broth. add some white or red wine to the dish. then add some flour and spices to form a paste. or freezing some for later. To reheat. but if you have cubed beef. and in most cases that is all you'll find available. • For a little European flair.) . Example: make some 'roux' in the pot before you start cooking the veggies or veggie / meat combo. you can feed your family like royalty for less than $5 – and often enjoy 2 or 3 meals out of it. you can buy full-price fresh veggies. to boot! • For a red sauce / French-style dish. But there is a special reward in making a giant pot of delectable fresh vegetable soup for $2 or $3. simply pop the giant ice cube of soup into a pot and heat slowly for 10 or 15 minutes.

• For a totally mind-blowing culinary sensation. if 110 . cook some noodles separately and serve the soup over the noodles. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. or just buy pre-made noodles if you're short of time. salt and a little baking powder. and are among the tastiest meals you will ever eat. The same amount by weight of grated cheese will often be $1. You'll find that you can make some GREAT international dishes in no time at all if you learn a few basics such as this. Often. milk or yogurt to make a cream sauce out of your broth. Consult any good cookbook to find out which spices to use with which veggies or veggie / meat combination. rather than buying pre-grated cheese. Many Hungarian dishes such as goulash and Chicken Paprikash follow this process.your wine to de-glaze the pan (all this means is that you loosen the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan and scrape everything into a consistent sauce). and excite your family's taste buds. DAIRY Dairy is one area in which it can be difficult to cut costs – difficult but not impossible. This roux / wine combination will thicken your sauce and add some very intricate and interesting flavors. Here are some tools and techniques: Cheese: Buy blocks of cheese and grate them at home. and make excellent dumplings right in the soup.00. water. just prior to serving. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet.99 or more – literally double the price! Granted. I'll find the small blocks of cheese on sale for about $1. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. You can also make a paste out of flour. There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked in hundreds of different ways. make a roux as described above and then when the dish is complete add sour cream. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family is endless. • To stretch your soup / stew. You can make excellent fresh noodles using nothing more than flour and salt. 'Recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household.

so get the bargains whenever you can. If you buy one bag of grated cheese per week for a full year. People: two halves DO make a whole when it comes to milk. Another advantage of grating your own cheese is that you're not limited to American. My local store regularly puts half gallons of milk on sale for $1. But here's a secret: all beef comes from a cow. and you can really save. Another thing that amazes me at the store is how size-specific people have become. And for you singles out there: never buy a pint of milk. How long does it take to grate cheese? It takes about 10 seconds. Sharp Cheddar or anything you'd like. you can grate Monterrey Jack. Always look for the lowest price brand when shopping. all pork comes from a pig. using a food processor with a grater blade. Swiss. because they want their family to enjoy the finest quality.79. and freeze what you don't need in the short-run. As long as you have a method of storing these items. you can buy them while they are on sale. That is why I believe you should make every effort to get a food processor as soon as you can afford one – or get yours out of the attic and actually start using it. while a full gallon container will be priced at $2. Colby. all parts of a chicken come from a chicken. Milk: It's funny how milk prices can vary so dramatically by brand. milk freezes and thaws out just fine… You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. you're paying about a 150% markup over the larger sizes. you store the cheese in plastic container for future use. Cheddar or Mozzarella. MEATS Most people avoid the lower-price cuts of meat.you don't have a food processor at home. all the cuts are different and some cook up better than others. Keep an open mind – and an open eye – when you're shopping for milk. Most people grab the gallon container out of habit. hand-grating a full block of cheese will take a lot of effort. Prices these days can change from week to week. but many of the lesser-priced cuts can be turned 111 . Then. Buy a half-gallon or gallon. you've wasted almost as much money as it would take you to buy a food processor and grate it at home. Do the higher-price brands come from better breeds of cows? I don't think so. Yes. Sure.00 each.

It's all in the cooking process. It's messy. breasts with wings attached. including drumsticks. with all drumsticks. because they are there when you need them and they're easy to cook. if you're willing to rebag them.Skin on Boneless Breasts . all wings. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. all bonein breast sections.into excellent. What I DO recommend is staying as high up this list as possible. Boneless Breasts . but this is simply not practical for many people. given the amount of time you can devote to cooking. A relatively inexpensive and handy choice is skinless / frozen breasts. thigh sections. flavorful. But the difference in cost can be significant. The higher up this chain you buy. enjoyable meals. just look at the cost per pound of each variety. it takes time. Or.Skinless / frozen Boneless Breasts . the less you will pay.Skinless / fresh Pre-Seasoned Breasts or Tenderloins Understand the 'preparation chain' of the food you buy. From lowest to highest price. 112 . It would be easy to preach that you should always buy whole chickens and cut them up as needed. and freeze them individually for one-at-a-time use later. the higher the price you pay. Bone-in Chicken Sections. you can buy packages of fresh breasts on sale. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. because you're paying a huge mark up for a few pennies' worth of spices. etc. and it's not particularly easy unless you learn how to do it. I also recommend that you NEVER buy pre-seasoned meats. the lower down the chain you buy. Chicken To fully understand how the different cuts and packaging combinations of chicken affect price. here's what you're likely to find: Whole Chickens or 'fryers' Half or Quartered Chickens Specific-Section Packs. etc. Often.

My favorite way to cook lesser cuts of beef is in a pressure cooker. peeled vegetables such as potatoes. I make a casserole-sized chicken potpie for fraction of the cost of buying a store-made pie. the slower it needs to be cooked. so there is no great secret to buying individual cuts. You'll also get great results if you cook it all day in a crockpot. etc. Start to finish takes about 30 to 45 minutes. salt and shortening). Perhaps the best rule of thumb with non-ground cuts of beef is this: the cheaper the cut. and surround with cleaned. potatoes that I have cooked separately. If you don't have a pressure cooker. 2. it comes with your pressure cooker. You can add a can of tomatoes if you 113 . you can cook a delicious pot roast in less than 1 hour's time – start to finish. carrots. and bake for about 15 minutes. onions. which you like. and then I thicken the remaining liquid with a little milk and some flour and water paste to make a cream sauce. and look for the best value you can.Chicken can be cooked in a multitude of ways. I add some carrots. This is a little metal plate that keeps the food away from the direct heat. Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker. Replace the roast. I simply cook two or three chicken breasts in the pressure cooker. Beef There are many different cuts of beef. hungry crowd. you should definitely consider buying one – especially if you often find yourself short of time to cook. Use whatever is in season and/or on sale. Try that in an oven – you can't do it! Here's the recipe: 1. With a pressure cooker. just buy what you prefer. and sear your roast on all sides for a minute or two. Just about any cut of beef will come out tender and juicy if you slow cook it for about 3 hours at 250 degrees in the oven. and it will please a huge. and many ways to make tasty enjoyable meals using the lesser-priced cuts. onions. For example. Put this all into a casserole dish and top with a simple piecrust (takes just a minute to make with flour. based on how much cooking time and work you're willing to put in. Remove the roast and put the spacer in your pressure cooker. 3. celery.

or cut up some fresh tomatoes.like a red sauce. try it and see! You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. But they can make a world of difference in the tenderness of your beef. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as 114 . use your best dietary judgment rather than price to make shopping choices. 5. If you do buy cheaper ground beef. tasty home-cooked meals but find yourself challenged for time. Close the cooker and heat until the weight starts to rock. If you can't wait. You can cook ANY type of meat in a pressure cooker this way. 6. Add about 2 cups of water. let the pressure go down naturally. drain it well after cooking. But remember – the value you thought you were getting will be going to waste when you drain away all the fat. so they're actually a better buy in the long run… Another way to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef is with meat tenderizer. They simply can't be beat as a kitchen helper. The new types of tenderizer are NOT MSG-based. salt and pepper. The longer you let the pot sit. and it will always come out great. 4. If you can. guess where it will be going? You may find that the costlier ground beef will yield bigger burgers with less fat. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. the more tender your beef will be. This way it will tenderize better. which will be very evident when you cook it. let the pot sit for an hour or longer. 7. Regarding chopped or ground beef. 8. so there's no need to worry about your health. and you will have an incredibly tender roast. The cheaper ground beef contains the most fat. If you are planning to cook and serve your roast immediately. I like to add chopped garlic. And if you don't drain away all the fat. I would recommend cutting the meat into smaller chunks prior to cooking. but leave the cooker on the burner. I would strongly urge you to invest in a pressure cooker. Turn the heat off. If you want to serve your family hot. you can place the cooker under running cold water to reduce the pressure immediately.

very tasty sauces that you can make in minutes. or vegetables) and create gourmet meals that your family will love. potatoes or other vegetables. and the variable element is the sauce or other seasoning additive. If you family is bored with the food you cook. For meat-eaters. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. you can keep your food costs low. most meals consist of a base and a sauce. rice. but they tend to be expensive and full of fillers and artificial ingredients.the higher-priced cuts. For vegetarians. Just put a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on top before freezing. the core element is one or more vegetables. That is why it is important to develop as many different sauce or spice combinations as possible. pork or lamb. Here are some very simple. As mentioned earlier. you can make a better sauce 115 . meats. if you're serving single portions. wash and save your leftover yogurt cups or pudding cups and freeze the sauce in them. You could buy pre-made sauces. MARINARA SAUCE. you can serve them over any core element to make delicious. With a little resourcefulness. etc. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food can make meals new & exciting again. the core element is chicken. beef. simply re-heat in a saucepan or in the microwave to serve. you can actually prepare these sauces in large quantities and store them in the freezer. the secondary element is rice. If you are typically stressed for time. commercial pasta sauces typically have a lot of starch fillers. the secondary element is rice or other grains. healthy and flavorful meals. Variety is the spice of life. You can pour your cooled sauce into quart-sized heavy-duty plastic kitchen bags and freeze. and the variable element is the sauce or spices. noodles. potatoes. Then. SAUCES: The Miracle Budget Stretcher When you get right down to it. Or. Once you've mastered these sauces. Serve them over your choice of core ingredients (cooked pasta.). you can work out your own system without buying expensive storage containers.

CREAM SAUCE. stirring constantly. you can make a great sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan (real butter is best for sauces. then serve over cooked pasta. but if your goal is to impress. Heat in a saucepan until it thickens slightly and then add your core ingredients. If your family likes mushrooms. Top with grated cheese. this will work every time. It is said that Homer lived on this dish while writing The Iliad. but margarine will do). start on your sauce. To make a delicious marinara sauce. If you want a decadent meal that people will rave about. sauté some chopped onions or chopped green peppers as well. When the butter 116 . stirring occasionally. I find that kids like it better without any spices). Yes. but it does take extra time…). you can add a can of peas on some chopped ham. OLIVE OIL & GARLIC SAUCE. start with a small carton of heavy cream. Melt a stick of REAL butter (margarine will NOT work for this one) in a saucepan over medium high heat. This will taste WAY better than those 'quick side' pouch meals. it's high on the cholesterol and fat content. adding mushrooms and a sprinkling of garlic powder or chopped garlic. When they are transparent but not browned. If you like. Add a little Italian seasoning or basil (optional. Simply heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped garlic (the jars of chopped garlic are easy and tasty. BROWNED BUTTER SAUCE.that is 100% natural by buying diced or pureed tomatoes and adding a few spices to your liking. Heat very briefly until garlic is barely cooked. This is known in Italy as "Aglio et Oglio" and it is a classic. Sautee for a few minutes and then serve over your core ingredients. Serve over hot noodles and sprinkle on grated cheese. For example. and heat for 15 to 30 minutes. so you know it has to be good! Cook your noodles first. and you've got a great presentation. and when they're almost done. fry some chopped garlic in a little olive oil. Top with chopped chives for color. The simplicity and powerful taste of this dish is amazing. This dish has been served for thousands of years – literally. add a can of tomatoes (or fresh. if available). purists prefer chopping the garlic fresh. MUSHROOM SAUCE.

YOGURT SAUCE. Reduce heat to low.starts to burn. You can use Pesto to add zing to soups. or serve it on top of your core ingredients as the main sauce. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a saucepan. 1 cup shelled walnuts (optional). etc. Add a half cup grated Italian cheese and process a few minutes longer until smooth. Puree in a food processor for a minute or two until smooth. add 2 teaspoons white vinegar. Heat through. chopped chives and tarragon to plain yogurt. Add additional oil until it forms a smooth paste. it really brings out the flavor of vegetables. 2 to 4 cloves of garlic. Here's a quick and easy sauce 117 . Parmesan. PESTO. SOUR CREAM SAUCE. stir and store.) The flavor of this dish will overwhelm you. ideal for special occasions. and serve on top of your favorite core ingredients. Nothing is lighter or cleaner than fresh lemon juice. (Grating a fresh block of hard cheese just prior to serving will make your dish much more flavorful than if you use the 'green cardboard shaker' cheese. and pour it over your noodles. Try sprinkling on some fresh ground black pepper for extra zest. stirring constantly. stews and other recipes. I recommend getting a small electric chopper to save time – and save your knuckles. This one takes a little longer and a few more complex ingredients. LEMON JUICE. salt and half cup of oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil). remove the seeds. but do not boil. For variety. Top with grated hard cheese. 2/3 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon of salt. immediately take it off the stove. add 1 cup finely chopped green onions until transparent (but not brown). Pecorino. Squeeze fresh lemons into a bowl. WHITE MUSHROOM SAUCE. Add 2/3 cup of whipping cream and cook until slightly thickened. This is an unusually pungent and tasty sauce. Simply add some parsley. add chopped cucumber (known as Raita in Indian cooking). a half cup of fresh parsley leaves. This is an elegant sauce that turns any core ingredient into a gourmet treat. 1 tsp. You can use any really hard cheese such as Asiago. A cool and refreshing alternative to oil-based sauces is a simple and clean yogurt sauce. Start with 3 to 4 cups of basil leaves.

buy the all-natural jar of peanut butter. Stir in a half cup white wine. fresh mushrooms (try an egg slicer). Cook for 10 min. ground fennel. but once you get a craving for it. but it's also ideal just by itself over rice or with vegetables. (I find that the fresh-ground peanut butter. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. ground coriander. ground cardamom. it will be a welcome change of pace on your dinner table. it will require stirring. Cook for 5 minutes. Slice 1 lb. Add more water slowly until sauce is the right consistency. more people are discovering that spicy peanut sauce is great on barbecued meats. Fry until wilted and pale brown. ground cumin and 1 to 1-1/2 ¸tsp. (Flavors blend best when sauce is cooled then reheated.) Stir in 1 clove of garlic. Here's an easy way to make this sauce quickly. Heat a half cup of chunky peanut butter in a saucepan. In India. Add salt (course or sea-salt preferred) to taste. minced very fine. SPICY PEANUT SAUCE. 2 tsp. or just as a side sauce to flavor up any meal.that is sure to impress. 1 tsp. but that takes extra work) over medium heat. Sautee 3 cups of finely chopped onions in 1 cup of olive oil (or clarified butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and puree in a blender with 2 cups of plain yogurt and a half cup of water. Stir in 1 cup of slivered or ground almonds. and add salt & pepper to taste. ground red pepper. stirring constantly. 2 tsp. Here's a decidedly elegant sauce you'll love as soon as you've tasted it. they serve it over chicken and lamb. and gradually stir in a half cup of water and a half cup of canned coconut milk. stirring constantly. stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. ALMOND CREAM SAUCE (Korma. Pour back into sauce pan and cook until thickened. 3 tsp. from India). Sautee in a half cup of melted butter until golden. served as a dipping sauce. vegetables or any core item combination. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. broiled or 118 . 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley. This sauce is a bit exotic. Up for something different? As Thai cooking grows in popularity. then reheat prior to serving. on medium heat. Top with grated cheese. Remove from heat immediately and serve over pasta.) Serve over barbecued. 1 tsp. In a clutch. Cook over low heat until the flavors are blended. chopped fresh ginger. is much better for cooking than the commercial brands. typically found in health-food stores. but it's much better in the long run.

pepper and garlic powder to taste. They work great. a half tsp. mix 3/4 cup ketchup. Worcestershire sauce). hot chili paste. ginger. and cost next to nothing! REMOULADE SAUCE. Garnish your dish with fresh cilantro. add 1 tbs dry sherry and a half cup chicken broth. finely-chopped ginger. if desired. warm water. When using. CHINESE HOT SAUCE. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes and serve over your favorite core ingredients. If you are cheap like me. of sugar. Add a dash of MSG for flavor-enhancement. half tsp. Blend the tastes. use the oil only and not the peppers. Soy sauce. Start with 3 tbl. buy the inexpensive bottles of red chili flakes at the drug store or 'dollar' store. bean sauce (found in Chinese grocery stores). canola or any cooking oil you prefer).fried chicken. olive oil and beat 119 . 1 tsp. Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1/8 cup Famous Sauce (available at your store. HOT CHILI SAUCE. or your choice of core ingredient. If you like things on the hot side. (optional. The Cajuns in Louisiana use this sauce on all types of seafood and sandwiches. In a small cup. you can make your own hot chili sauce in minutes. vegetable. How do the Chinese make so many different dishes so quickly? The secret is their base sauces. Mix until blended. Here's one that you can make in advance and serve over just about any core ingredient to make a tasty change-of-pace dish. plus 1 cup or more of dry sherry to taste. a hlaf tsp. Chinese black vinegar (or 1-1/2 tsp. then salt. name brand starts with a “D” and rhymes with turkey. 3 tbl. sugar.) Slowly add in 3 tblsp. 1 tbl. In a small jar. Add 1 tsp. most people prefer no MSG). Sesame oil and 1 tsp. sugar. mix 1 tsp. Soy sauce. place a handful of dried red peppers in a jar and add oil (olive. then store your cooled sauce in the refrigerator in a jar and heat in a saucepan prior to adding your core ingredients. salt & pepper to taste. minced ginger root and 2 tbl. CHINESE IMPERIAL SAUCE. Add chopped garlic. Simply mix the following in a saucepan: 3 tbl. Here's another basic Chinese sauce that you can use to make a range of different menu items. Drizzle slowly into sauce to thicken. or more hot oil (see below). 1 tbs. To make hot oil. 1 tbl. cornstarch with a little water to form a liquid paste.

because they are being harvested now – not 6 months ago. This is a spicy sauce that some people can't live without. many sauce recipes you can find in your favorite cookbooks or on the Internet. Bring to a simmer. Add 3 tsp. dry white wine. prepared horseradish. 1 tsp. Blend in 2 tsp. This recipe uses ingredients you probably have around the house. beating after each ingredient. and you will find that you can create exciting and varied dishes in minutes – for meals that your family will savor and thank you for again and again! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 17 BIG IDEA 80: CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. dried oregano and dried thyme. combine 3/4 cup Butter or margarine. 1 tblsp. ketchup. That's because the items that are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. In a small saucepan. Melt a half stick butter in a saucepan. Louisiana hot sauce. ULTIMATE CREAM SAUCE. a dash of hot pepper sauce. salt. 1/4 tsp. lemon juice. In a small cup. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and a half cup hot water. each of cayenne pepper. For sheer elegance.vigorously. Pour over any core ingredient for a delightful meal. Heat on low for 5 minutes until blended. This is also a Cajun recipe. ideal over seafood. Whisk until blended. 1 tsp. 3 tsp. Blend the flour mixture into the melted butter until thickened. Add 1 tsp. white pepper and 1/8 tsp. Add 1 tsp. These are but a few of the many. mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little hot water until dissolved. As you can see. 3 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese and allow to melt. 1/4 tsp. Simmer until thickened. Add a half cup hot milk and slowly blend in 1 pint sour cream. 2 tsp. Add to your list of sauces. Add salt if desired. the variety of sauces you can cook is unlimited. white pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. MEUNIERE SAUCE. and cooks very quickly. minced parsley. 120 . Bring to a simmer and then add 6 oz. chopped green onions. Creole or 'poupon' mustard and then mix again. nothing beats a complex cream sauce. Worcestershire sauce.

You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. and store them in a way that you can reheat them quickly for individual meals. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. as long as you have a method of storing these items. so get the bargains whenever you can. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food 121 . BIG IDEA 84: There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked hundreds of different ways. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. If your family is bored with the food you cook. That is why the Italians have been able to make thousands of individual recipes based off of this one vegetable. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. Prices these days can change from week to week. and each will be tasty and healthy for your family to eat. BIG IDEA 88: Variety is the spice of life. You can make hundreds of recipes around the tomato. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as the higher-priced cuts. BIG IDEA 82: A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. Often. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family are endless. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. BIG IDEA 86: Understand the 'preparation chain' of the foods you buy. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. and excite your family's taste buds. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. the higher the price you will pay. so 'recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. more food volume. The higher up this chain that you buy. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. the less you will pay. BIG IDEA 85: You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. But the difference in cost can be significant. The Irish knew this centuries ago. you need to buy them while they are on sale. the lower down the chain that you buy. BIG IDEA 87: You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently.BIG IDEA 81: Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. BIG IDEA 83: Tomatoes are packed with nutritional value and flavor.

etc. potatoes. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. noodles. you can keep your food costs low.can make meals new & exciting again. 122 .).

• Kids love slushees. 123 . liter or 2-liter sizes of the brand-name stuff. Avoid buying drinks that have the water added at the factory.Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Here are some random tips for saving money at the grocery store. We use the sugar-free varieties. that container of 'fresh' juice is actually factoryblended out of "FOJC". but they cost $1. Compare the cost of a half gallon of fresh orange juice to a can of frozen juice that makes a half gallon. or if you just don't like them. You can also use this method to make summertime adult beverages – mix in a little fresh fruit and lemon or lime as well. and some pre-sweetened packet drink mix. Your money will go a lot farther! • Iced tea by the can or by the jar of mixture can be expensive. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. It can often be almost 50% less in cost – and some frozen brands taste just as good as fresh. DRINKS • Brand-name soft drinks by the can are expensive. as it's known on the commodities market (Fresh Orange Juice Concentrate. some ice. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. Choose the storebrand. because the kids get less 'wired' than with the sugar mixes.50. and you can make a great daiquiri without paying for those high-priced frozen mixes.) What is at the core of any non-alcoholic drink? Water. buy the quart. You can make them at home using a blender.00 or more at the burger joints. and replace it with clean & fresh water out of your own tap. Tea bags are cheap! You can make fresh-brewed tea in the microwave in minutes and then add ice cubes and sweetener to make your own tea for less. • Fruit juice is very healthy and delicious. $2. And in many cases. but it can also be very expensive. and serve in a glass with ice.

buy the large-size package and divvy the product out into small baggies yourself.COOKIES & SNACKS • The store brands of cookies are often as good if not better than the name brands. With one of these machines. you cut off a section of pouch material. because you're paying a wildly-inflated cost for the food inside those packets. because they haven’t had to make any sacrifice. If you want to implement portion control. AVOID THESE PRODUCTS. Now. The net result: one 5 lb. they cost about half as much. If you are super-diligent about this. than bagging the same portion yourself! PORTION CONTROL The marketing gurus at the food manufacturing companies have latched onto a great idea: package smaller amounts of their product in tiny packets. you can individually package your own portions and lock them up in a storage closet. 124 . • If you give your kids snacks for school. Plus. You'll accomplish the same goal. you’re saving $133 or more per year – and best of all you’re keeping the little ones happy. fill it with your food. by weight. the ones that use a roll of plastic pouch material. use your own plastic bags and dish out a small portion of these items from a larger bag. you can purchase one of those food-saver machines. but lower your total food bill. You know. Market it as 'healthier-size portions' and people will pay the mark-up and be glad for it. purchase can last for a full month. Does it make a difference? Well. you’ve spent $6 plus another $2 or $3 in plastic supplies. but instead of spending $20 or more on individual packets. if it’s an item you buy every month. and then the machine sucks out the air and seals the flap air-tight? They’re really not that expensive to purchase. but they’re very expensive – and the kids will overeat them if you buy the large economy size. Let’s say that your kids just absolutely love those chocolate-coated candies. Those small pre-packs of snacks are about three to four times more expensive. melt one edge to seal it in the machine. and double or triple the cost of the item by weight. here’s the advantage.

You’ll find that many of the home-made products will actually be better for your home and for the environment. rubbing alcohol. dishwasher soap.. etc.CLEANING SUPPLIES • One thing will never change. You’ll find a treasure-trove of cleaning supplies at the dollar store for the remarkable price of. This same type of product. For example. etc. Their homemade version works just as well as the commercial stuff because the lemon juice dissolves the dirt and smudges on the surface while the olive oil shines and protects the wood. They claim that most commercial polishes and sprays use silicone oil.... etc. baking soda. one web site lists a recipe for furniture polish that is made entirely out of olive oil and lemon juice. Just do a web search on “homemade cleaning supplies” and you'll find dozens of sites offering recipes for cleaners that you can make for a fraction of the cost of the name-brand versions. you guessed it – a dollar! And the remarkable thing is. this stuff won't go bad. So when you're buying household items like laundry detergent. vinegar. many of these items will actually be environmenally-friendly. can be made out of a combination of water. bathroom cleaner. ammonia. It should make you feel smarter. when purchased at the “oh so environmenally concious” earth-friendly store will cost you as much as $4. I found a huge bottle of orange spray cleaner – you know. or log onto one of the many websites that show you how to make clone – copies of brand – name cleaning products yourself. which can seep into the cracks in the wood and cause problems if you ever decide to refinish the wood. Many of these items such as window-washing solution. and by buying big you won't be running out as often. buy the big container and use a coupon. the kind that uses citric acid as the main cleaning ingredient – and it only cost $1. • Read the 'Hints from Heloise' column in your newspaper. oven cleaner. the need to clean. Imagine that – a cheap and effective product that does a better job than the high-priced sprays! 125 . • Shop at the dollar stores. Does it somehow make you feel cheap? It shouldn’t. – saving you 70% to 80% off the cost of buying the brand-name stuff.79! So you’re reducing your cost by over 75% by purchasing at the cheapskate store.

and they will certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. Helping to provide a 126 . Help Your Community with Coupons – Even If You Won't Personally Benefit. It helps local schools get free or discounted educational supplies. Many of these home-made products actually work better than the store brands as well. you simply clip the little coupon that is printed on the packaging and collect them. Each one is worth about 10 cents towards school supplies or educational equipment. buy a bunch of everything and drive it out to the animal shelter or ASPCA. Every town and city has a center that accepts food and household items for the poor. Just keep a plastic bag in your pantry or kitchen drawer and clip these coupons all year long – even if you don't have school-age kids. Since General Mills is such a large manufacturer and distributor of food products. You could collect enough over one year's time to provide $20 or $30 worth of educational supplies for your local schools. but the proceeds that your local schools can receive from it are huge. you'll find these coupons on dozens of different products you buy every week. The program costs you nothing extra. There are many people who could benefit from your shopping activities.Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily save $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. When you see bargains like this. With this program. SUPER BARGAINS • Often you will find that your store is discontinuing an item. consider buying a few extras for the less fortunate. Our furry friends need help. and will put it on sale for pennies on the dollar to clear it out quickly. based on the number of coupons that the school turns in for credit. And that brings up another very important point: saving money to help others. too – and their caretakers never get enough money or support to provide the animals with everything that’s needed. One of the best and largest grocery-related programs around is "Boxtops for Education" sponsored by General Mills. And if you happen to find pet food or pet supplies on close-out.

Buy concentrated juices and powdered drinks. and you and your family are too important to settle for second best. One immediate idea is to see if you have a Second Harvest or other food bank in your area. there are many other community groups that could benefit from the discounts and bargains you are able to achieve through proper shopping techniques. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. chances are the item is well worth the price they are asking for. what's the point? Life is too short. It will be more enjoyable in the long run. If you find yourself buying inferior products or lowering your standards in the quality of the food you buy. Food banks collect canned goods and non-perishable items for distribution to hungry families throughout your area. Value is not as important as providing the best quality for your family so price should not be your only motivation when shopping. When you do see an incredible bargain on a particular item. Rather than sacrifice quality. you can be a hero by purchasing one or two extra items and donating them to the food bank. 127 .better education for our children is something we can all be proud of. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. If you see a clear-cut difference in the quality of an item. you're not using the system correctly. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 18 BIG IDEA 89: Cut down on drinks that have water added at the factory. It's easy to enjoy BETTER food and pay LESS money if you follow the steps outlined in this book. But if you find yourself buying inferior products just to save a few pennies. and the higherpriced item is definitely of better quality. Of course. Spending less money on food does NOT mean you have to buy lower quality items. you can enjoy the finest items in the store for a fraction of the everyday retail price. If you follow the methods outlined in this book. I would recommend buying a smaller portion of the better quality items and consuming less. QUALITY • It needs to be said that nothing substitutes for good quality.

You can use plastic bags. BIG IDEA 93: Be an "angel" and participate in free programs such as "Boxtops for Education" that help others. consider buying the large economy-size package of a product and doling out the portions yourself. Saving money does NOT have to equate to settling for less. or if you are especially resourceful. BIG IDEA 91: Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily shave $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. Many of these homemade products can actually work better than the name brands! BIG IDEA 92: Quality of life is important. 128 . Or simply buy extra nonperishable items when you see them on super-sale and donate them to your local foodbank.BIG IDEA 90: If you want to provide portion-controlled servings. Use the tips in this book to buy top-quality products for less. get a food-saver machine and make air-tight pouches for longterm use. and therefore the quality of the products you purchase and use is also important. You'll help out your community and store up some good karma while you're at it.

Plus. A half-hour spent searching for coupons can easily reap $20 . and your answers will become part of a compiled database file on the members of your household. One site promises that your data remains safe. there are so many loopholes and 'trusted partners' who get your information. always skew your answers in the direction the marketers are looking for. Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. if you find a coupon for a product your family uses a lot. do not participate in their surveys. It's like having a part-time job that pays you $40 or $50 an hour. The site will ask you a wide range of personal questions about your household. For instance. But if you read their Privacy Policy. Value – with a Cost. and provide the minimum amount of answers required to get to the coupons on their site. you can get some great coupons online. If you need a coupon for peanut butter. The website asked for two answers prior to receiving 129 . it is clear that you are being profiled every step of the way. Here is a trick: if you are required to answer questions about your usage of a product prior to your printing the coupon. run a web search for "Peanut Butter Coupon".$30 or more in savings. Be wary. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print immediately. you can print off as many as you like. one offer I came across was for chocolate powder that kids use to flavor their milk. and will not be shared with third party firms. and if you are concerned about privacy and "Big Brother" knowing too much about you and your family. You should be aware that many of these ‘free coupon’ sites are really consumer survey / information-gathering portals for the food manufacturing industry.Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting If you have access to the Internet. Repeat this for all of the other main products you will be shopping for. only you're not working: you're having fun.

I thought it was an error. (techie note only.the coupon: 1. These are the box mixes of augratin or scalloped potatoes. it was apparent that this was a major push to get people to try these products at the start of the fall/winter “hot food” season. How many times per week does your household use milk flavorings? 2. How do I know this? Recently.) I logged in using a Zip Code from another state. How many of these instances involved the brand name featured in the coupon? I answered the maximum in each case. Guess what? No potato coupon was found! Just out of curiosity (and frantic to get my potato coupon) I logged in using a different browser (Internet Explorer instead of Firefox) so there would be no ‘cookies’ stored for my account. I went to my favorite online coupon site and saw a 40¢ coupon for this item on page 1 of the site. Here’s another trick: Some of these online sites will ask you to enter your Zip Code to find “local savings. and guess what – the potato coupon reappeared! 130 Now. So when you encounter these 'surveys'. so I logged out and logged back in again. Because the same offer was made at the two largest grocery chains. Why do you suppose that would happen? Answer: they didn't want to cannibalize their profits from a current customer. but it sure appeared to me that the food . I entered my Zip Code to get the local offers. It’s actually a ploy they use to REMOVE the coupons for items that are already on local promotion in your area. This way. but you currently use a competing brand. ignore this if you find it confusing. and I was quickly routed to a 'technical malfunction' page that said the coupon could not be printed at this time. and the potato coupon disappeared from the list. ALWAYS say that you are interested in the featured product and would like to try it. I tend to be cynical. you are almost certain to get the maximum value coupon available on the site that day. Just to see what would happen. two of my local stores had a namebrand line of potato mixes on BOGO.” I discovered something surprising about this.

65 ($1.29 per box $0. the internet coupon was marked “Do Not Double”. Here are some coupon sites to visit. Read the fine print carefully and uncheck all offers before proceeding. Here’s why: Normal price of item Cost per item using only the BOGO offer Cost per item using BOGO offer AND the doubled coupon $1.80 for 2 boxes) Of course. This site will make you work hard to get to the coupons – but it’s worth the effort. CoolSavings. They even put the coupons in the same position on each page.29 minus $0. The easiest way to do this is to “select all” and print. But I know from experience that most stores ignore this request because they want to please the customer. Eversave.com. you will instantly be signed up for a wide array of offers.) Moral of the story: you may want to avoid asking for “local savings” coupons if you really want to save more money locally. or you will forever be inundated with emails and marketing offers.manufacturer didn’t want me using both the doubled coupon AND the BOGO offer.25 ($1. But then the payoff was huge: 82 coupons were available to pick and choose. they’ll typically double every coupon that is within their accepted value range (any coupon under 50¢ at my local store. This site features about 20 to 30 coupons per week on all types of consumer products. magazines.29 total for 2 boxes) $0.com. I was asked to review and “accept” or “skip” about 8 lengthy offers for insurance. so you can cut a stack of pages all at once and the coupons will all be trimmed out correctly! 131 . and unless you uncheck the requests on their pages. On a recent visit. and some tips on getting the best coupon values on each site. medicine. etc. Just be aware that they are partnered with dozens of information-compiling sites.

this site has a huge selection of coupons at very reasonable prices. CentsOff. A good site to visit often! NOTE: this site is rebranded by local newspapers such as the L. plus a 50¢ administration fee. You select the coupons online and receive them in the mail within 7 to 10 business days.com. so you will be directed here from many other sites. and you get to choose by specific brand names. you have to agree to complete a very lengthy survey and tell them everything about yourself – in great detail. it displays the specific coupons available by category.com. You can order multiples of the same coupon. This site offers pre-clipped coupons. personal and cleaning products and more. Plus. but you do pay for each coupon. then pay an additional $8. gourmet food items.OnlineCoupons. you don’t pay an annual fee. you can stock up on the specific coupon. One annoying thing about this site is that on coupons that cost you 5¢. They offer a large number of coupons at very good price points. you can plan your savings over time.50 fee to join. etc. But overall. There is a $99.com. as well as the number of coupons currently available and the expiration date.A. so if your family is a big consumer of a particular item. Times. This site requires that you pay a $7. on items that your family is very likely to want and use – items like popular cereal brands. Thecouponclippers. up until the expiration date of the coupon. On this site.95 annual fee however. I would recommend this site if you are buying for a community group such as your Boy Scout 132 . plus you must install their printer drivers to print coupons. and that just kind of goes against the grain of true cheapskates. You have to go through quite a bit of mumbo-jumbo before you ever get to the coupons. This site requires you to register with minimal information.com. Fees typically range from 5¢ to 15¢. The drawback is that you have to pay to save. Coupons.25 to receive up to 50 coupons by return mail.com. the Baltimore Sun. the shopping cart changes the quantity to 5 – even if you only selected 1. so you should be a very avid coupon user to cover the startup fee. Plus. Here.. you don’t have to do all that clipping… Clipngocoupons. This site is well organized.

so it may be disappointing if you are looking for printable grocery coupons. "FatWallet's mission is to serve consumers with knowledge. This site maintains a large number of links to coupon values.us. however. This site uses a double opt-in validation process. This is the author’s web site. You are not the only consumer that wants to save money on groceries.com.S. especially when a consumer posts a complaint here. Plus. Plus. You are required to provide specific household information to sign up. The food industry giants monitor this site. many leading to the sites listed above. too! Fatwallet. Members of this site post information about hot deals and web sites where you can download coupons. This is a great site for sharing coupon tips and techniques with people from across the country.com. shopping. The site simply links to EverSave. Thefrugalshopper." GroceryDiscounts.Troop or church social group. As posted on their site. But visit it. you can get valuable tips from hundreds of other value-conscious shoppers across the U. rebates and regional offers posted here. value and guidance.com for grocery discounts. when you plan to make multiple purchases of specific items over the long term. 133 . etc. The site features a surprising number of local coupons that you can print out and redeem for discounts on dining. It means that you sign up on line and then you receive an email that you must respond to if you want to get to the online coupons. so I really can’t toot my own horn.com. but also some unique freestanding sites great for rebate-searching. MyClipper. I was impressed at the high coupon values and diversity of local establishments participating on this site. You'll find 'hot deals' on coupons. entertainment. We offer many links to the best savings of the week. It's like having 230. because you will regularly find responses from the PR departments of the big companies. they provide valuable information about what offers are good and not so good. with comments from people who have claimed them or have comments about the offer. and see what you think.000 friends to ask advice from. and all the rebates and coupons to make it happen at the lowest possible price. There are no grocery coupons on this site.

Plus. Join some of the ‘blogs’ (web logs) related to cost-cutting. You can benefit from their experiences and wisdom by searching the internet and reading about their tips & techniques. and make a new friend. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print and redeem immediately. BIG IDEA 95: Use the internet to capture tips & techniques from other shoppers. Chances are. Knowledge = cash savings for you. you’ll learn some great money-saving tips that you can use over and over again. you might just meet a kindred spirit on one of the blog sites. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 19 BIG IDEA 94: Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping.Millions of people today have to count pennies to stay afloat. 134 . and share your successes with other value-minded individuals.

You can't teach a stranger what their mama was unable to many years ago. "Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness". When you're not moving. but you're going to get to know your local store pretty well. you might only be spending a little more time than you do already.Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette One thing to bear in mind as you implement these saving techniques we've discussed. is that you're definitely going to be spending more time at your local grocery store. if you're waiting in line at the butcher or deli counter. So if you see someone lurking nearby. Cart Courtesy. It was Honore De Balzac who said. Here are a few ways you can become a more courteous shopper and make everyone's shopping experience more pleasant. Shelf Surfing. one way or another. If you're taking a particularly long time to review the products on the shelf. you'll probably be blocking a few dozen shoppers during that time. As it often goes with Murphy's Law. Take a minute to think of other shoppers. they're 135 . Similarly. take a glance around every so often to see if anyone is waiting nearby. This certainly brings us to the issue of your fellow shoppers. and either doesn't know – or doesn't care – that other people are shopping in the store at the same time. Okay. People's behavior in the grocery store is a mirror reflection of their attitude towards others. be aware of where you left your cart. Unfortunately you'll find this to be the case among the people sharing the aisles of your grocery store. If it's in the middle of the aisle and you'll probably be waiting in line for 5 minutes or longer. Nothing is more frustrating that waiting behind someone who is stopped in the middle of the aisle. and pull your cart off to the side before you get in the line. two or more people will need the exact same item on the exact same shelf at the exact same time. But you can demonstrate proper courtesy yourself and hope that some of it wears off on others. pull your cart over to the side of the aisle so others may pass.

If you’re certain that you are entitled to the lower price or the coupon redemption. Plus. as will your cashier. like you and me. “oh oh – I think the scanner took the original price and not the sale price. Instead of. trying to make it through their shift. But if you try to resolve the situation in the checkout line and hold the other shoppers up for 5 minutes or so. put the blame on the computer and not on the poor cashier who is just doing his or her job. don’t jump down their throat: mention that there is an issue with the price that the scanner has entered. and she wants your shopping visit to be pleasant. It makes for a more pleasant exchange. take it up with a customer service representative after you finish paying for your groceries. they’ll never let you live it down. try. They’re not there to represent the ‘big bad grocery store chain’ or ‘big corporate food manufacturers’. Here’s another value-shopping tip for you: most stores have a ‘no error’ policy that will give you one of the sale item FREE if their system rings up the wrong price. If you have a discrepancy on a price. So give them a break. the cashier is NOT trying to rip you off. Your fellow shoppers will be very appreciative. it reflects poorly on her if she’s got a situation with an irate customer. you can accept your error. needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway). don’t pitch a fit or blame the cashier: offer to fix it at the Customer Service counter after you check out. as well. and simply walk away from the service counter. It’s important to mention that the cashier at your local grocery store is working to feed his or her family. okay? Wrong Price / Wrong Coupon. if you’re wrong.probably waiting for you to move. apologize. the cashiers will have you pegged as a ‘problem customer’ which is not a good way to make friends or get preferential treatment when you shop. Plus. 136 . she’s there to help you. So your 5-minute excursion to the service counter could save you a few extra dollars. Cashier Courtesy.. Can we check the sale flyer to see if I’ve got the right item?” In other words. So make your choice and move on. And. Plus. So give her a break.. “hey – you’re trying to rip me off!”. If there is a huge line at your grocery store and the scanner simply won’t ring up the correct price or accept your coupon. They’re just people.

You may get one item free if the pricing error was caused by the store’s computer. walk over to the customer service counter after you’ve paid. 137 . Instead. it can pay to NOT mention it to cashier.Big Idea Recap – Chapter 20 BIG IDEA 96: If you notice a price discrepancy at the cash register.

138 .

In other words. but you won’t have to burn up your valuable time and gasoline to visit these stores. This information can be used to your advantage in many ways. for example. regular price $7. They'll really appreciate your effort! Competitive Price-Matching.” This particular store will match their competitor’s advertised sale price on the exact same item. A cashier recently told me something about the processing of 'free' and 'BOGO' coupons. at the same time you are saving money using the tips and techniques found in this book. Let’s call them store “W” and affectionately nickname them “Wally World.99 – all the while taking advantage of store “W’s” other low prices. Free & BOGO Coupon Presentment Order. One of America’s largest discounters offers a unique value proposition. many 139 . If you take store “A’s” flyer to store “W”. This makes it easier for the cashier to find the prices. This one tip alone can shave $20 or $30 off your weekly food bill. A good tip is to put those items LAST on the conveyor belt. and put the free and BOGO coupons FIRST on your stack of coupons. You can also take flyers from store “B” and from store “C” and “D” into store “W”.99 but this week it’s on sale for $3. The bad news is. you can purchase this same item for $3. so they don't have to search for the price. Let’s say. but purchase the rest of your weekly food needs at their regular store prices. But the fun – and the savings – don’t have to end there. Store “A” has the goal of getting you to come in for that one bargain. There are many coupons that offer an item for free but they also indicate that the cashier must write the purchase price on the coupon. This may be one of the only loss-leaders they advertise for the week. The cashier asked me to always hand them the coupon at the same time they are scanning the free item. that store “A” has put the large size of laundry detergent on sale.Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Here are some ways to save time at the grocery store. you can get the price-saving advantage of shopping at ALL of the stores in your are.99.

you will save money on food. You’ll just have to do the math yourself to decide which stores in your area offer the best final-cost pricing on the items you need. The net result: I experience savings of 40% or 50% on my total order that day. and it's one that 90% of all shoppers fall into. they don't know any other way. many times the net cost of items at store “W” are lower with single-value redemption on coupons that they are at competing stores with double-value redemption. All this is great. Most of the time. but it can be very costly if you don't time to shop for bargains or take advantage of the in-store sales on that particular day. If you only need three or four items to complete your meal on a Sunday afternoon. I locate the sale items. And honestly. when I would have otherwise experienced savings of probably 0% had I not taken the extra few minutes to scarf up these values. But you're relaxed and taking your time at 8 a. but they are the best bargains for that day in that store. I run by and pick up those three or four sale items that I have coupons for. In time. The secret to accomplishing BOTH of these goals is to do a little pre-planning. Make Saving a Habit.m. when you need those three or four items. Speed Shopping.” That wouldn’t be fair to them. you probably want to breeze in and breeze out of the grocery store. and then I do a quick perusal of my grocery coupon envelopes to see if I have matching coupons. I’m not suggesting that you ONLY buy the price-match items at store “W. i. You're in a huge rush at 4 p.m. "Acme Grocery". Now.e. you will consistently find yourself paying less for food because you have changed the way you shop. I pull out the coupons and place them in the envelope I've got named specifically for that store. when you're reading the Sunday paper. You're probably a wiz at the 'self-scan' aisle and know how to shave minutes off your trip. but when I'm breezing in to Acme for my 10-minute kamikaze shopping blitz. Paying full retail for food is a bad habit. I may find only three or four coupons. 140 . It only takes an extra two or three minutes to pick them up. I find it very beneficial to scan the grocery flyer from my local store.stores like store “W” do not double your coupon’s value. If you habitually follow even a few of these money-saving tips.

Tomatoes grow very well in a large bucket – and you can often find the large 5-gallon plastic pails thrown away behind restaurants or in the recycling bin. or just not be usable. Start a Soup Night. return it to the store for a new one. you can grow your own tomatoes or green beans and save lots of money on fresh vegetables. Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs. You can also find meat that is expiring and on-sale 141 . to take things out of the recycling bin? No! You are doing better than recycling – you are re-using!). So I wrote a note to the manufacturer and told them that they needed to reformulate or at least re-think the product. and they all spit it out. the grocers expect a certain amount of 'breakage' as it's known in the trade. you can cook them up in a pressure cooker and make a delicious soup in less than an hour. – and these grow very well in small pots that you can put on a window sill. parsley. Even their friend who weighs 300 lbs and regularly cleans out my refrigerator of all leftovers. taste horrible. cilantro. and use them to make a pot of soup! Monday's are good days for grocery stores to clear out their leftover inventory from the weekend.00 off coupons for their other products. So it was well worth my time to complain. The manufacturer wrote me back and send me three $1. he spit it out. actually. nothing is better than fresh basil. Every grocery store has vegetables that are reaching their peak and must be sold quickly. Turn this to your advantage. I recently bought a juice item for my kids.Never Settle for Poor Quality. write a quick letter to the manufacturer and tell them so. If the item is in fine condition but you just think it's nasty-tasting. If you have a patio or deck. Once in a blue moon. etc. because my personal focus group is pretty reliably when it comes to evaluating kid's foods. If it's defective. Try it. So if you pick up a bag of mixed vegetables for $1 or $2. thyme. I know what you're thinking: I barely have time to zip through the grocery store. you will purchase an item that will either have gone bad. it's nothing like that. Now you're asking me to put on bib overalls and farm the back 40? What are you. You might be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own herbs and save on the cost of buying them fresh. CRAZY??? No. If you like gourmet cooking. Okay. (Is that unethical. or even just a few square feet on the side of your driveway.

and you have a gourmet treat that's easy on the budget as well.for fi the price or less. you will see a consistent and ongoing reduction in your net cost of food. That's up to $360 savings per year – plus you'll eat better and tastier meals. you can not only save money – you can prepare them into a delicious. By learning how to prepare these items quickly. welcome meal that your family will love and look forward to every week. write letters: you'll get satisfaction in the end – and probably save a few extra bucks as well. BIG IDEA 101: Bargain meats and vegetables are still very edible and nutritious. using your breadmaker. It makes a terrific dinner. BIG IDEA 100: A few minutes per day invested in growing your own vegetables and herbs can easily save you $20 or $30 per month. If they're just poorly made or you are completely dissatisfied with them. without the added cost or time of actually driving to all of these stores. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 21 BIG IDEA 97: Some big-box grocers offer to match competitive store’s sales prices. you will habitually save on food. By taking the other store’s sales flyers into the big-box store. If you make bargain-grabbing a habit. BIG IDEA 98: If you get in the habit of ALWAYS picking up a bargain or two EVERY TIME you visit the grocery store. Take advantage and cook it all up together with a few spices. Bake a loaf of fresh bread the night before. the store couldn't sell them if they weren't. you can enjoy the best values from every store in your area. that is still absolutely fresh and good to eat that day but must be sold by the store before midnight to comply with basic regulations. If they're defective. BIG IDEA 99: You never have to pay for items that truly are unusable. 142 . get your money back or get a replacement.

Closing Notes Well. May your coupon-cutting scissors remain sharp. and your piggybanks remain full! 143 . and you don't have to pay top dollar to get the finest groceries available in the store. delicious meals that can improve their health and you can save lots of money in the process. regardless of how time-challenged you are. You can shop quickly and efficiently. I hope that the ideas presented here have given you a new outlook on food and cooking in general. there you have it. You don't have to settle for second best. You can feed your family for less and enjoy nutritious. Good shopping to you all.

The health and beauty aid section in the grocery store HDA .for coupons that need some proof of purchase such as UPC's attached Cpns .Manufacturer MFR . usually has a red border C/O .National Brand Qualifier 144 . Also referred to as SS coupons or insert coupons. zip code NB .Hot Deal Alert or Home Delivered Ad HT or HgT.Premiums that require money in addition to a proof of purchase NAZ .National Brand NBQ . address.Manufacturer Money + . These are the actual term to the coupons you get in your Sunday newspaper.cents off coupon Codes .Buy one get one free Catalina .Refunds that require only a UPC# written on a CRT Coufund .Limited.Dated cash register tape DCRTC .Free Standing inserts.A coupon that allows you to get the product completely free FSI . as on a refund form it will say you're limited to a certain number of purchases MFG .coupon that a grocery store doubles in value Free Item Coupon .Hang tags for refunds or coupons hanging on a product HTH . usually from red blinking box BOGO or B1G1 . HBA .manufacturer's coupons CRT .instore smartsource coupon dispensed near product.coupon dispensed at register after purchase.Dated cash register tape with the price circled DND .In search of LTD .Name.GLOSSARY Guide to refunding and couponing terms : Blinkies .Cash register tape DCRT.Hope this helps ISO .Do Not Double (the coupon is not supposed to be doubled) Double coupon .

while supplies last YMMV .net weight OAS .a coupon that is good on one purchase.Sunday supplement coupons (FSI) Super doubles .No expiration date Nfp .Try Me Free Triple coupon .Your Mileage May Vary (Success of offer is variable.Store form SMP .coupons that are doubled $1 + in value (ie.purchase price PPHF . any size OSI .Universal Product Code WSL .) 145 .Random act of kindness SF .sweepstakes form Tear pad .specially marked packages SS .a coupon that a grocery store triples in value UPC .proof of purchase PP .A pad of refund forms found hanging from a store shelf or display TMF .refund form found in a newspaper NT WT . a $1 coupon = $2.Paypal handling fee Q or Qualifier.NED .The POP required for a refund offer that is physically taken from that package RAOK .On a single item POP . etc) SWEEPS .

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Understanding how to leverage the grocery manufacturer’s promotional cycles AISLE MASTERY. Discover the system that can save you 30% . How to use coupon doubling and store promotions to maximize savings STAYING IN SEASON. This is real money that you can bankroll to make life-changing differences in your family’s lives. FKB Group PLC. That’s at least $1. His clients have included many of the nation’s largest manufacturers. If you’ve tried ‘skimping’ on quality or selection just to lower your costs. . and develop lifelong money-saving habits such as: MAKING BETTER CHOICES.500 in savings per year! And if you’re spending $200 or $300 per week – you can easily save $3. and Allied Graphic Arts.000 to $5. You will learn the inside secrets that the food industry doesn’t want you to know – and how you can harness that knowledge to beat them at their own game. retailers and financial institutions. Buying the best for less than the ‘off brands’ SMARTER COOKING. this book will show you how easy it is to actually IMPROVE your menu and INCREASE meal satisfaction – all while PAYING LESS CASH each week for groceries. How to think like a chef to get the best shopping values on any given day SYSTEMATIC SAVINGS. 101 simple action steps that you can learn in minutes If your family spends $100 or more on food per week. within days of reading this book you can start saving a minimum of $30 per week – all while eating tastier and more nutritious meals.40% . Inside the pages of “Better Groceries for Less Cash” you will quickly learn and master the simple techniques of value buying. Selecting core ingredients rather than paying for high-priced ‘pre-mixed’ items THINKING LIKE A MARKETER.THIS DEFINITIVE GUIDE to saving money on groceries is a godsend to families who struggle to make ends meet. a non-profit foundation dedicated to solving the world hunger crisis. You can shop smarter even if you’re always in a hurry LEVERAGE. Putala is also the founding director of World Hunger Team. You will learn how to completely re-shape your approach to food.even 50% or more on groceries TAKING SIMPLE STEPS. Your family will love the results – and so will your budget! RANDALL PUTALA is a career advertising executive that has worked for some of America’s largest agencies including BBDO.000 per year.

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